Microbots to clean the lungs of mice with pneumonia

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Microbots to clean the lungs of mice with pneumonia

It is not always easy to care for a patient with pneumonia. Intravenous antibiotics only reach the lungs in small amounts and are sometimes not very effective. To remedy this situation, scientists came up with the idea use miniature robots to transport medicine and clean the lungs from the inside.

According to a new study published in the journal Nature Materialsnano-engineers from the University of California-Davis have developed small robots capable of swimming in the lungs of mice. During the trip, these robots release drugs that can treat pneumonia.


microbot
Credits FANGYU ZHANG / ZHENGXING LI

The first results of the new method are very promising. This technique has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of pneumonia in human patients.

How it works ?

From what you can read in the article, microbots are made using algae cells filled with antibiotics. These cells were chosen for their ability to move in the lungs.

Algae cells are covered with nanoparticles which are themselves covered with dozens of biodegradable spheres made from neutrophil membranes. These are a type of white blood cells.

According to scientists, robots degrade naturally and safely in the body. They tested them on mice infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that can cause hospitalization, use of respirators, and even death in humans. A control group was left untreated, and the rest of the mice received the microbot treatment directly in the lungs.

The obtained results

The results showed that the new technique is very promising. All mice that were not treated died while those given the microbots survived for 30 days. They all made a full recovery.

This test also showed that the use of microbots is much more effective than direct intravenous injection. According to the scientists, to achieve the effectiveness of microbots using the intravenous, it would be necessary to multiply the dose injected by 3000!

Victor Nizet, one of the co-authors of the study, explains that with intravenous injection, sometimes only a small fraction of the drug arrives in the lungs. This is why current treatments for pneumonia do not work as well as desired. And this leads to very high mortality rates.

Hopefully this technique can one day be used in humans. This will save many lives.

SOURCE: Futuristic

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