The major disadvantage of most chemotherapeutic approaches to cancer treatment is that most are non-specific which results in the well-known side effects. Magnetic drug targeting offers a major advantage through targeting a specific site, such as a tumor. Magnetic drug targeting is a drug delivery approach in which drugs are added to magnetizable particles and then magnetic fields are applied to concentrate them at disease locations such as tumors. Magnetic drug targeting allows the drug dosage to be increased significantly while avoiding side effects in healthy tissues. However, the current studies focused on approaches that require bulky magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to produce the required gradient of magnetic fields.
The proposed Local Electromagnetic Steering System (LESS) addresses this problem by using a small electromagnet that is attached to a robotic manipulator to steer the particles inside the blood vessels. In this system an array of Hall effect sensors is used to measure the magnetic field magnitude of magnetized particles as a feedback to the LESS controller and the controller produces the path that should be followed by the robotic manipulator. The significant challenge in LESS is that the trajectory to be followed is not known and only the start and end points are known. Therefore, an intelligent control method should be developed to overcome this problem.
The main advantage of LESS is that this design significantly reduces the cost and also the size of the system. In comparison to multi-million dollar MRI-based drug delivery, LESS provides much cheaper solution (a few thousand dollars) for drug delivery in chemotherapy as one of the important procedures in the cancer therapy. As a result, it addresses the main obstacle of magnetic drug delivery application and therefore has an immediate benefit to the healthcare and life science.