Algae Robots Deliver Drugs in the Body

 

Tiny algae robots are swimming through the lung fluids of mice, delivering antibiotics straight to the bacteria that cause a deadly form of pneumonia, reports Thomas Fudge, Science and Technology Reporter for KPBS.

It’s happening at UC San Diego and it shows the tremendous potential of microrobotics. “They can actively swim in the body fluid, dip into the thick part of the tissue and carry a lot of therapeutic payloads to the disease site, and then very effectively kill the bacteria,” said professor of nanoengineering Liangfang Zhang, one of the lead researchers.

The algae robot is organic, and swims with its flagella. It is not attracted to the bacteria, but they move so effectively through the fluids of the lung that it greatly improves the dispersion of the drug.

The researchers said the study of algae robots in the lungs is very innovative and experimental, and “human trials are still a ways away.”

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