ANGIE – targeted treatment using microbots

Most strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked due to a clot. This clot then prevents areas in the brain from being supplied with oxygen, resulting in the sudden death of brain tissue. Strokes are a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, and stroke cases are expected to rise in the coming years.

The most common treatment of this kind of stroke involves injecting a drug (called rtPA) into the blood which then acts to dissolve the clot. Unfortunately, while rtPA is effective for dissolving these clots, it has many side effects, including internal bleeding, swelling, and many more.

In stroke treatment, the doctor has to find a trade-off between administering a sufficient amount of rtPA to dissolve the clot in the brain, and reducing its dosage to avoid its side effects. These side effects also limit the time in which rtPA can be used to a few hours after the first symptoms. Thus, many strokes are not treated at all.

The ANGIE project, is developing a novel approach for the treatment of strokes. By magnetically steering microrobots to the clot, they can deliver the rtPA directly to the stroke site. This approach allows them to deliver higher concentrations of rtPA directly to the clot, while reducing the overall amount of rtPA used by a factor of 10.000.

The ANGIE technology will allow for blood clots to be opened faster, expand the treatment window and reduce the side effects of the treatment. We hope that this will increase the patients’ quality of life and reduce deaths and disabilities caused by strokes.

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Listen to Professor Salvador Pané Vidal talk about the research

The project is funded by the European Commission under the Grant Agreement number 952152.