Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have successfully created a 'nano swimmer' – an artificial structure that can move through undiluted human blood to probe the local environment and deliver medicine.
The collaborative efforts by a team of scientists from different disciplines has taken science closer to physicist Richard Feyman's prophecy that humans would someday make small vehicles to cruise through blood vessels for medical purposes.
The research study was recently published in the international journal Nano Letters.
"We made a vehicle that looks like a small screw with a magnetic coating and protective material around it. Blood has a corrosive environment. The magnetic material gets dissolved in the blood. We formed a team that helped us build the protective coating. Getting the right combination of materials was a challenge," Ambarish Ghosh, one of the authors of the research study told HT.
The next challenge, he said was to generate the thrust so that it could move through the blood.
"We did this study on collected human blood. The next step would be to put it in actual human system but this would require more exhaustive study," he added.
Ghosh said that his team was in talks with cancer specialists and biologists to check the motion of the nano voyagers in cancerous tissue, potential cancer diagnostics and also help in the delivery of drugs.