Screw-like microrobot can swim through blood vessels and clear clots

Corkscrew-shaped microrobot that uses a helical propeller to swim through blood vessels and clear blockages with clot-busting drugs is developed by scientists

  • The robot was designed by engineers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Its corkscrew-like propeller was inspired by the the tails of bacteria like E. coli
  • The team tested it in a fake vein filled with pig’s blood, driving it with magnets
  • It was five times more effective at breaking up clots than the drugs alone
  • The team believe that the robot’s rotor helps the drugs circulate around the clot
  • Blood clots might be soon be cleared by using microscopic robots with screw-like propellers that swim through blood vessels bearing blockage-busting drugs.

    Developed by engineers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, il microrobot design was inspired by the tails of bacteria like E. coli.

    The tiny robot and its propeller are driven by the application of an external magnetic field — and it is capable of moving with and against the direction of the blood flow.

    Tests in a fake vein filled with pig’s blood showed the robot makes its clot-dissolving ’tissue plasminogen activatorcargo five times more effective than the drug alone.

    The robot’s rotor, ha detto la squadra, may help to circulate the drug around the blockage site — better breaking up the clots and reducing the risk of large fragments.

    These are a risk when using the drug treatment alone — and with catheter-based alternative approaches — and can lead to additional blockages ‘downstream’.

    As it is hard to navigate the robots long distances through the body, the researchers cautioned, the approach might be better applied to more accessible clots.

    Blood clots might be soon be cleared by using microscopic robots with screw-like propellers that swim through blood vessels bearing blockage-busting drugs. The tiny robot and its propeller are driven by the application of an external magnetic field — and it is capable of moving with and against the direction of the blood flow

    Blood clots might be soon be cleared by using microscopic robots with screw-like propellers that swim through blood vessels bearing blockage-busting drugs. The tiny robot and its propeller are driven by the application of an external magnetic field — and it is capable of moving with and against the direction of the blood flow

    Developed by engineers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the microrobot design was inspired by the tails of bacteria like E. coli (nella foto). Tests in a fake vein filled with pig's blood showed the robot makes its clot-dissolving 'tissue plasminogen activator' cargo five times more effective than the drug alone

    Developed by engineers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the microrobot design was inspired by the tails of bacteria like E. coli (nella foto). Tests in a fake vein filled with pig’s blood showed the robot makes its clot-dissolving ’tissue plasminogen activatorcargo five times more effective than the drug alone

    The study was conducted by roboticist Li Zhang and his colleagues at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    ‘The helical structure is just like a propeller, così [the robot] can deliver the cargo from point A to point B,’ Professor Zhang told the New Scientist.

    ‘If you want to deliver some other thing that’s not a drug, that’s also possible. Per esempio, therapies based on stem cells, or localised heating to kill cancer cells.

    To monitor the robot’s progress up the synthetic vein in their lab tests, Professor Zhang and his colleagues used so-called ultrasound Doppler tracking, which works by measuring the reflection of sound waves passing through the blood.

    Pierre Gélat — a mechanical engineer from University College London who was not involved in the present study — told the New Scientist that ‘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 fulfil unmet clinical needs further down the line and how you get there as well.

    The robot's rotor, ha detto la squadra, may help to circulate the drug around the blockage site — better breaking up the clots and reducing the risk of large fragments. Nella foto: a clot

    The robot’s rotor, ha detto la squadra, may help to circulate the drug around the blockage site — better breaking up the clots and reducing the risk of large fragments. Nella foto: a clot

    With their initial study complete, the researchers are now looking to conduct further trials of the microrobot in more realistic settings.

    They will also be working to demonstrate that the design might indeed be used safely with the blood vessels of a real human patient.

    I risultati completi dello studio sono stati pubblicati sulla rivista ACS Nano.

    CHE COS'È UN COAGULO DI SANGUE?

    Lo stesso processo che guarisce una ferita può essere mortale se si verifica all'interno del corpo.

    Un coagulo di sangue è un grumo di sangue che è passato da uno stato liquido a uno gelatinoso o semisolido. La coagulazione è un processo necessario che può impedirti di perdere troppo sangue in alcuni casi, come quando sei ferito o tagliato.

    Quando si forma un coagulo all'interno di una delle tue vene, non si dissolverà sempre da solo. Questa può essere una situazione molto pericolosa e persino pericolosa per la vita.

    Un coagulo di sangue immobile generalmente non ti danneggerà, ma c'è la possibilità che si muova e diventi pericoloso. Se un coagulo di sangue si libera e viaggia attraverso le vene fino al cuore e ai polmoni, può bloccarsi e impedire il flusso sanguigno. Questa è un'emergenza medica.

    Alcuni fattori di rischio aumentano le tue possibilità di avere un coagulo di sangue. Una recente degenza in ospedale, soprattutto uno che è lungo o correlato a un intervento chirurgico importante, aumenta il rischio che si formi un coagulo sanguigno.

    I fattori comuni che possono metterti a un rischio moderato di un coagulo di sangue includono:

    • età, soprattutto se hai finito 65 Anni
    • viaggio lungo, come qualsiasi viaggio che ti ha costretto a stare seduto per più di quattro ore alla volta
    • riposo a letto o sedentarietà per lunghi periodi di tempo
    • obesità
    • gravidanza
    • una storia familiare di coaguli di sangue
    • fumare
    • cancro
    • alcune pillole anticoncezionali

    fonte: Healthline

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