Slides available here!


Prof. Sylvain Martel, Polytechnique Montreal, Canada


Coordinating simultaneously tens of millions of intelligent autonomous robots, each being smaller than a red blood cell, for cancer therapy and beyond


Miniature robots capable of swimming in the blood streams are expected to exist only in a very far future. Such long delay is due to a lack of technologies allowing engineers and scientists to conceive such tiny intelligent robots. But by considering a new and less traditional approach, such robots have already been implemented and are presently investigated to deliver therapeutics deep in solid tumors after transiting through chaotic networks made of the tiniest blood vessels. The talk will describe how besides constructing miniature structures, large swarms of such tiny robots, each with an overall size of less than a human red blood cell, can receive commands from an external computer and use embedded computation and sensors to autonomously deliver therapeutics to the most critical regions located deep inside solid tumors.


Prof. Sylvain Martel, Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, is Director of the NanoRobotics Laboratory at Polytechnique Montréal, Campus of the University of Montréal. He pioneered several biomedical technologies including platforms for remote surgeries and cardiac mapping systems when at McGill University, and new types of brain implants for decoding neuronal activities in the motor cortex when at MIT. Presently, he is leading an interdisciplinary team involved in the development of navigable therapeutic agents and interventional platforms for cancer therapy. Prof. Martel is internationally recognized as the pioneer in a new paradigm in drug delivery known as direct targeting where therapeutics are navigated in the vascular network towards solid tumors using the most direct route. Such approach leading to an increase of the therapeutic index has been featured in several media around the world such as The Globe and Mail, MIT Technology Review, New Scientist, The Economist, BBC, Newsweek, etc.

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