Researchers at China's Harbin Institute for Technology have sent drug-impregnated microscopic robots into mouse brains to treat tumors, coating the machines in E. coli to let them pass through the blood-brain barrier.
The magnetic "neutrobots" are directed within the body by a rotating magnetic field, and are designed to penetrate the brain in the casing of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell.
Harbin's Zhiguang Wu said, "Like robot swarms in the macroscale world, the micro/nanorobot swarms enable sophisticated manipulation to accomplish complex tasks."
The neutrobots were injected into the mice's tails; their E.coli coats caused the neutrophils to envelop them like invading bacteria, enabling the robots to infiltrate the brain and deliver their drug payloads to targeted gliomas.
Wu described the neutrobots as "a platform for active delivery for the therapy of various brain diseases such as cerebral thrombosis, apoplexy, and epilepsy."
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