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What if we could activate, speed up, and improve the body’s healing process via remote control?

For many years this concept has been a mainstay feature within science fiction and fantasy, from Bones’s Tricorder in Star Trek to Tony Stark’s Nanotech suits in the Iron Man movies.

Now, research within regenerative medicine, including MICA's own research, is making huge strides in making this a reality. Recognition for these achievements is evidenced by MICA having the opportunity to display its research and technology at the 2022 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.

Using ground-breaking advances in nanotechnology and magnetics, we can unlock the potential of stem cells to promote the regrowth of a range of tissue types, including bone, cartilage, collagen, neuronal, and more.

This technology allows us to treat a variety of injuries and diseases, boost the body’s immune response, and even shorten the natural healing time for common ailments, all via remote control.

Osteoblasts tagged with 4.5 μm RGD-coated MNP.jpg

Osteoblasts tagged with 4.5 μm RGD-coated MNP

This novel and interdisciplinary research can improve the lives of millions across the world. The benefits would be felt everywhere, from improved patient care to reduced stress on healthcare systems and freeing up valuable resources, allowing them to be redirected to other clinical areas.


Patients would experience reduced waiting times on transplant and minor surgery lists, combined with less frequent visits to medical centres; instead, they can heal and rest at home.

Magnetic fields present within clinical magnetic bandages under varying field

Magnetic fields present within clinical magnetic bandages under varying field strengths

How It Works

To achieve this process, we draw on the fundamentals of a specific type of magnetism. Magnetic nanoparticles can exhibit a type of magnetic behaviour not displayed on a larger scale, known as superparamagnetism.

( This type of magnetism means a small magnetic particle doesn’t have a set ‘north’ or ‘south’ direction, like a bar magnet. Instead, it has a magnetic orientation that flips rapidly at random. Therefore, on average, the particle appears to be non-magnetic. However, when we apply a magnetic field, the particles’ ‘north’ and ‘south’ align with whatever field direction we make, equivalent to turning the nanoparticles’ magnetic properties ‘on.’ If the strength of the magnetic field varies with distance, then the particles feel a magnetic force.)

This force enables us to move magnetic particles inside the body just by creating a magnetic field outside the body. We can manipulate the particles by changing this magnetic field; if the particles are attached to cells, these forces are translated to the cells.

Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) aligned in collagen, activated by an externally applied magn

Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) aligned in collagen, activated by an externally applied magnetic field

Technology Applications

  • Therapy

  • Oncology

  • Neurodegenerative diseases

  • Arthritis

  • Tendon repair

  • Orthopaedics

  • Spinal cord repair



First each magnetic nanoparticle is coated with binding proteins, peptides or antibodies. Then these coated particles are mixed with stem cells where they bind to various ion channels or protein receptors on the cell membrane.

One of the ways cells respond and communicate with its environment is through ions. Ion channels are channels through a cell’s membrane, which allows charged ions or molecules to enter or exit the cell. When the cell’s ion channels open, ions flood into the cell, which is interpreted as a signal and leads to differences in the cell's behaviour. The choice of where the particles bind to the stem cell depends on their coating. This is something we can control to give a desired effect.

Spinal Fusion - Stem Cell Therapy

Fusion involves surgically joining two or more vertebrae through instrumentation and bone grafts, reducing the normal mobility of the spine which may help patients to feel better and may improve their quality of life. The current gold standard treatment uses sources of healthy bone from other regions of the patient, but this procedure holds several drawbacks: increased surgical time, greater costs, donor-site post-operative pain and morbidity, and limited availability of patient's bone especially for long spinal segment fusions. There is a higher rate of spinal fusion failure in older patients.

The first indication we are using our therapy for is spinal fusion, where we are approaching phase 2a clinical trials.

In this therapy we will take stem cells from the patient’s bone during , (specifically mesenchymal stem cells), label them with our magnetic nanoparticles, and use a magnetic bandage to simulate the cells. Mesenchymal stem cells can become fat, cartilage or bone-forming cells. Previously, there has been little success in controlling what the stem cell becomes. We use our technology to ensure the stem cells form new bone cells. We can also control where we want the stem cells to form new bone, allowing us to grow new bone between the two vertebrae, causing spinal fusion. 


We can apply the principle of MICA therapy to other applications too. We have developed a more realistic model of the gut lining, for testing drug permeability. Our DynaScreen product replicates the movement seen in the gut lining, unlike the current drug permeability screen, leading to more accurate predictions of permeability for new drugs.


Dynagrow is our product that allows you to use MICA’s remote cell control strategies in your own research. It is a compact piece of equipment that provides the dynamic or static magnetic forces to biological materials that are associated with magnetic nanoparticles or magnetised scaffolds, allowing you to control the cells of your choosing.

Dynagrow is perfect for research in: examining cellular mechanics, ion channel activation kinetics, mechanosensitive ion channel signalling pathways, targeted activation of specific ion channels, and mechanical conditioning of cells for regenerative medicine applications. There are many further potential applications, please see our comprehensive brochure, or talk to our technical experts.

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