In principle, magnetic forces can be used to manipulate therapy inside the living body. Human trials have shown that external magnets can exert enough force on magnetic nano-particles to transport and collect them to disease locations (e.g. to tumors) where they can then release drugs or other therapy. However, in practice, we do not yet have magnetic systems that can safely and effectively focus therapy to where it needs to go.
This talk will focus on challenges and the progress we have made in better understanding magnetic drug targeting – from modeling of magnetic fields and nano-particles, to tissue, in-vivo, and autopsy studies, and how those elements are informing the design of next-generation magnet systems. In particular, magnetic targeting aims to control therapy to disease targets inside a dynamic system (the human body), and I will focus the talk on dynamic and control aspects. I will describe what is known reasonably well (essentially particle and magnet physics) versus what is known only poorly (biological forces on nano-particles and their transport in the body), and will show how we are using what we know, and trying to find out what we do not know, to create next-generation systems. The talk will close with a summary of our efforts to commercialize our first magnetic delivery technology and bring it to patients.
Dr. Benjamin Shapiro received his BS degree from the Aerospace Engineering department at Georgia Tech, and his PhD from the Control and Dynamical Systems option at Caltech (with Dr. Richard Murray). He is a Professor in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland, with a joint appointment in the Institute of Systems Research, the Nano-Center, the Greenebaum Cancer Center, and he is affiliated with the Applied Math and Scientific Computation program. His research is focused on modeling, design, and control of micro-scale systems for chemical, biological, and clinical applications. He is a Fulbright Scholar (Germany, 2009), is the co-editor of a book on ‘Control of Micro-Scale Systems: From MEMS to Atoms’, has filed 22 patents, and is the President and Cofounder of Otomagnetics, LLC, a company dedicated to commercializing magnetic injection to non-invasively deliver therapy to ear and eye conditions. Dr. Shapiro was born in Jerusalem, Israel in 1973.