Microscopic Maids. 

It is truly mind-boggling where our technology is going. This time it’s into our bloodstreams. Nanorobots. Tiny little bots that get injected into our bloodstreams so they can swim around in there to clean out all the toxins. They also can look around for anything that’s going wrong, such as blocked arteries, and clean them up, too. Scrape all those artery walls clean. Now hey. I’m all for the easy way back to health.

The U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency are the ones doing this. They intend to have what they are calling the ‘broad-spectrum detoxification robotic platform’. They are working with the University of California San Diego to develop tiny ultrasound-powered nanorobots that can swim through blood and remove harmful bacteria and the toxins they produce. These nanorobots could one day offer a safe and efficient way to decontaminate our bodies by providing a fast alternative to the antibiotics used today to treat life-threatening pathogens like MRSA bacteria. MRSA is an antibiotic-resistant staph strain. It’s been considered a serious worldwide threat to public health for some time now.

This is how the little bots work:
Gold nanowires get coated with a hybrid of red blood cell membranes and platelets, those tiny blood cells that help your body form clots so you can stop bleeding. The platelets attract bacterial pathogens, which become bound to the nanobots. The red blood cells then absorb and neutralize the toxins produced by these bacteria. The researchers use ultrasound to power the nanobots. The inner workings of the gold nanowire body responds to that and those tiny guys go shooting around in your bloodstream like crazy. This is what your natural red blood cells do. This mobility helps the nanobots mix with the bacteria and toxins in your blood and speed up detoxification. And these things are tiny enough to get into our bloodstreams and do all that., too. The nanobots are just over one micrometer long. Our red blood cells are around 6 to 8 micrometers. And the nanobots can travel up to 35 micrometers per second in blood when powered by ultrasound. Very fast.

The coating also protects the nanobots from proteins that tend to collect on the surfaces of foreign objects that get into our bloodstreams to prevent them from doing their thing.

Right now, researchers are experimenting with these little bots in blood samples in petri dishes and in mice. After just five minutes, these blood samples turned up with three times less bacteria and toxins than untreated samples. They’re also wanting to use these bots for delivering drugs to the body, especially where cancer cells are located. And they’re thinking of using biodegradable materials instead of gold. They’ll break down better in the bloodstream after they complete their tasks and get removed through the body’s natural processes. All in all, this sounds like progress to me. How about you? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

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