Researchers turn diet supplement algae into cancer killing microbot
Scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong tested out the robot inside a rat's stomach, and put it against cancer inside a lab dish.
HONG KONG — Scientists have transformed an algae commonly used as a dietary supplement into a cancer-eliminating robot.
Details of the research were published this month in the journal, Science Robotics.
Researchers coated spirulina microalgae in iron nanoparticles before inserting it inside a rat's stomach. The iron coating combined with the natural shape of spirulina, allowed scientists to control the and direct microalgae with magnets.
Spirulina emits a compound toxic only to cancer cells. Researchers found it eliminated 90% of cancerous cells inside lab dish after two days.
The biodegradability of robot depends on the thickness of iron nanoparticle coating. The thicker this is, the longer the robot can operate inside a subject.
Lead researcher Dr So Li Zhang told Science it's not ready for doctors to use, reckons it might be ready for use in about ten years.
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