Roller Remedy

A number of red blood cells are seen through a microscope, enmeshed in fibers

Cargo trucks for your bloodstream?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Your bloodstream is a highway that moves nutrients throughout your body! Doctors can use this highway to ship helpful drugs ANYwhere. But since it is so vast, those drugs can also end up EVERYwhere! Messy! If Amazon can get your package to the right address, why can’t doctors? 

Metin Sitti of Koç University and his collaborators are on it. They’ve developed tiny robots called “microrollers.” Less than one-tenth the width of a human hair, each roller is a cute silica ball that carries cargo and wears a tiny metal hat. Thanks to the metal hat, doctors can use magnets to steer the rollers through the bloodstream. But can they really DELIVER?

Yes! When tested, magnets guided the rollers through dummy blood vessels with ease! The researchers found that these rollers could precisely target breast cancer cells AND deliver antibiotics. Sitti hopes that in the future, they could make chemotherapy much less painful!

You might say these little robots are on a roll!