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Corkscrew-shaped robot swims through blood and delivers thrombolytic drugs

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Laboratory tests show a tiny robot with a helical propeller inspired by bacteria can swim through veins and deliver clot-busting drugs



Technology



10 January 2022

Blood clot, 3d illustration. Inset: Miniature helical robot

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

CHRISTOPH BURGSTEDT/Getty Images/Science Phot Library. Inset: Qianqian Wang, Xingzhou Du, Dongdong Jin, and Li Zhang

A corkscrew-shaped microrobot inspired by the tails of bacteria like E. coli can swim through blood vessels and help unblock clots.

Li Zhang at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his colleagues inserted the robot into a synthetic vein filled with pig’s blood, and found it made blood clot-busting drugs work nearly five times better than the drug by itself.

“The helical structure is just like a propeller, so [the robot] can deliver the cargo from point A to …

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