A Magnetic Bio-Inspired Soft Carrier as a Temperature-Controlled Gastrointestinal Drug Delivery System

Christoff M. Heunis*, Zhuoyue Wang, Gerko de Vente, Sarthak Misra, Venkatasubramanian Kalpathy Venkiteswaran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Currently, gastrointestinal bleeding in the colon wall and the small bowel is diagnosed and treated with endoscopes. However, the locations of this condition are often problematic to treat using traditional flexible and tethered tools. New studies commonly consider untethered devices for solving this problem. However, there still exists a gap in the extant literature, and more research is needed to diagnose and deliver drugs in the lower gastrointestinal tract using soft robotic carriers. This paper discusses the development of an untethered, magnetically-responsive bio-inspired soft carrier. A molding process is utilized to produce prototypes from Diisopropylidene-1,6-diphenyl-1,6-hexanediol-based Polymer with Ethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate (DiAPLEX) MP-3510 - a shape memory polymer with a low transition temperature to enable the fabrication of these carriers. The soft carrier design is validated through simulation results of deformation caused by magnetic elements embedded in the carrier in response to an external field. The thermal responsiveness of the fabricated prototype carriers is assessed ex vivo and in a phantom. The results indicate a feasible design capable of administering drugs to a target inside a phantom of a large intestine. The soft carrier introduces a method for the controlled release of drugs by utilizing the rubbery modulus of the polymer and increasing the recovery force through magnetic actuation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2200559
JournalMacromolecular bioscience
Issue number7
Early online date21 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • Shape memory polymers
  • Soft robot
  • medical robotics
  • Drug delivery

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