In the United Kingdom, scientists created remote-controlled nanorobots made from biodegradable spirulina algae that can be remotely controlled within complex biological fluids with high precision using magnetic fields. The nanorobots could allow doctors to diagnose disease and deliver drugs from within the human body.
A paper describes how the bots are able to release potent drug compounds that are able to attack cancer cells. However more work still needs to be done on motion tracking, biocompatibility, biodegradation, and diagnostic and therapeutic effects before clinical trials can take place. They also learned that adding an iron magnetic coating helps fine-tune the rate by which they degrade.
Team lead Professor Li Zhang said, “Rather than fabricate a functional microrobot from scratch using intricate laboratory techniques and processes, we set out to directly engineer smart materials in nature, which are endowed with favorable functionalities for medical applications owing to their intrinsic chemical composition.”