SCIENCE: Small robot successfully removes pneumonia from mouse lungs

Sci­en­tists have com­mand­ed a swarm of micro­scop­ic swim­ming robots to suc­cess­ful­ly elim­i­nate pneu­mo­nia microbes in the lungs of mice, a tech­nique that could lead to dead­ly bac­te­r­i­al pneu­mo­nia in humans. It is hoped that it can be treated.

The micro­ro­bots are made of algae cells and coat­ed with a lay­er of antibi­ot­ic nanopar­ti­cles. Algae trav­els through the lungs and is there­fore key to a pre­cise and effec­tive treatment.

In the exper­i­ment, mice treat­ed with the algae robot dis­ap­peared from the infec­tion, while untreat­ed mice died with­in 3 days.

The tech­nol­o­gy is still in the proof-of-con­cept stage, but ear­ly signs are very promising.

“This mouse data sug­gests that micro­ro­bots can save more patients’ lives by increas­ing the pen­e­tra­tion of antibi­otics to kill bac­te­r­i­al pathogens,” said Vic­tor Nis­sette, a physi­cian and pro­fes­sor of pedi­atrics at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego. I under­stand,” he says.

The nanopar­ti­cles in algae cells con­sist of small macro­mol­e­c­u­lar spheres coat­ed with the mem­brane of neu­trophils, a type of white blood cell. This mem­brane neu­tral­izes inflam­ma­to­ry mol­e­cules pro­duced by bac­te­ria and the body’s immune sys­tem, and both nanopar­ti­cles and algae are nat­u­ral­ly degraded.

Reduces harm­ful inflam­ma­tion and improves infec­tion con­trol. Also, swim­ming micro­bots can apply treat­ments where they are need­ed, and their pre­ci­sion is what makes this method work so well.

Micro­bot ther­a­py was also found to be more effec­tive than intra­venous antibi­otics. In fact, to get the same effect in mice, they need­ed to inject 3,000 times more than they would into algal cells.

“These results demon­strate that tar­get­ed drug deliv­ery com­bined with active move­ment of microal­gae enhances ther­a­peu­tic effi­ca­cy,” says Joseph Wang, a nano­engi­neer at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego.

In humans, the Pseudomonas aerug­i­nosa pneu­mo­nia used here occurs after patients are con­nect­ed to a ven­ti­la­tor in an inten­sive care unit. This infec­tion pro­longs hos­pi­tal stay and often sig­nif­i­cant­ly increas­es the risk of death.

The researchers hope that the new method can be scaled up as need­ed and can be eas­i­ly admin­is­tered into the lungs of ven­ti­lat­ed patients. ).

As a next step, the researchers plan to fur­ther explore how the micro­ro­bots inter­act with the immune sys­tem, scal­ing up the study to pre­pare for exper­i­ments in larg­er ani­mals and even humans.

“Our goal is to selec­tive­ly deliv­er drugs to more dif­fi­cult sites, like the lungs,” says Liang­fang Zhang, a chem­i­cal engi­neer at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego. “And we want to do it in a safe, easy, bio­com­pat­i­ble and long-last­ing way.

“That’s what this work demonstrates.

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