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Corkscrew-Shaped Robot Swims Through Blood Vessels to Clear Blockages


Illustration of a blood clot and, inset, the helical microrobot.

After navigating the machine to the blood clot, the robot released a standard clot-breaking drug, tPA, and its rotor (inset) helped to circulate the drug around the blockage site.

Credit: CHRISTOPH BURGSTEDT/Getty Images/Science Photo Library; Inset: Qianqian Wang, Xingzhou Du, Dongdong Jin, and Li Zhang

Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) have developed a corkscrew-shaped microrobot that can swim through blood vessels and help drugs unblock clots more effectively.

CUHK's Li Zhang said the robot's helical structure mimics a propeller's to enable drug delivery, while non-drug payloads also are possible.

The researchers employ magnets to rotate the robot's rotor and to drag it through a blood vessel, while Doppler tracking guides its path by reflecting sound waves off blood cells.

Said Pierre Gélat of University College London, “The ability that they have to steer the robot in in-vitro environments is quite nice. The challenges are in finding out whether this will fulfill unmet clinical needs further down the line, and how you get there as well.”

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2022 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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