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article imageBlood swimming nanobots eliminate toxins

By Tim Sandle     Jun 17, 2018 in Science
Medical technologists have constructed nano-sized and ultrasound powered robotic devices that are capable of traversing through a viscous fluid like blood to eliminate pathogens and toxic by-products.
The development comes from scientists working at the University of California San Diego. The ultrasound-powered nanorobots can swim through blood and remove potentially harmful bacteria plus the toxins they produce.
The idea is that the nanorobots can provide could an effective means to decontaminate biological fluids. One idea, for instance, is to use the robotic devices to remove contaminants from blood samples which contain antimicrobial organisms, such as MRSA. In trials, a known population of Staphylococcus aureus was removed within five minutes the blood samples.
The nanorobots, Smart2Zero reports, are constructed from gold nanowires, containing a hybrid of platelet and red blood cell membranes. The objective of the hybrid cell membrane coating is to permit the nanorobots to conduct the roles of two different cells simultaneously. First, this is as platelets, which act to bind pathogens like bacteria. Secondly, red blood cells, which function to absorb and neutralize the toxins produced by certain pathogenic bacteria.
The importance of the gold structure of the nanorobots is to allow them to respond to ultrasound. This means that the robots gain the ability to move around, at a rapid pace, without the need for chemical fuel. Trials show how the sound waves lead to prolonged acoustic propulsion of the nanorobots within whole blood.
The following video provides more details on the functionality of the biomimetic nanorobots:
This enhanced mobility enables the devices to interact with the bacterial targets within blood. According to lead researcher Professor Joseph Wang, who works at the Department of NanoEngineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering: “By integrating natural cell coatings onto synthetic nanomachines, we can impart new capabilities on tiny robots such as removal of pathogens and toxins from the body and from other matrices.”
The researchers hope the experiments will lead to the development of a broad-spectrum detoxification robotic platform. The research has been published in the journal Science Robotics. The research paper is titled “Hybrid biomembrane–functionalized nanorobots for concurrent removal of pathogenic bacteria and toxins.”
More about Nanorobots, nanobots, Toxins, Blood
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