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Cell-Like Nanorobots Clear Bacteria, Toxins From Blood

Colored image of nanorobots coated in hybrid platelet/red blood cell membranes.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed tiny ultrasound-powered robots that can swim through blood, removing harmful bacteria along with the toxins they produce.

Credit: Esteban-Fernndez de vila/Science Robotics

University of California, San Diego researchers have developed proof-of-concept ultrasound-powered nanorobots that can swim through blood, removing harmful bacteria and related toxins.

These robots could eventually provide a safe and efficient way to detoxify and decontaminate biological fluids.

The researchers coated gold nanowires with a hybrid of platelet and red blood cell membranes, allowing the nanorobots to perform the tasks of both platelets, which bind pathogens, and red blood cells, which absorb and neutralize toxins.

Each robot's gold body responds to ultrasound, allowing it to swim rapidly and mix with bacteria and toxins in blood, speeding detoxification.

The nanorobots, approximately 25 times smaller than the width of a human hair, can travel up to 35 micrometers per second in blood.

The researchers tested the nanorobots on contaminated blood samples, and found that the samples had three times less bacteria and toxins than untreated samples after five minutes.

From UC San Diego News Center
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