Delivering Antibiotics with the Help of Microrobots Highly Effective in Treating Deadly Pneumonia

Microrobots allow a wide range of applications in modern medicine. These microrobots possess unique dynamic features that allow for better use in biomedicine. In contrast with other static medicine features, bioinspired microrobots can actively move in biological fluids. A team of scientists applied click chemistry to attach antibiotic-loaded nanoparticles to natural microalgae, causing the production of hybrid microrobots for the in-vivo delivery of antibiotics to the lungs.



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These microrobots can swim around the lungs, delivering medications for treating highly lethal cases of pneumonia caused by bacteria. The study scientists have previously engineered the development of drug-delivering nanorobots that can safely treat bacterial infections in the stomach and blood of live animals. Their latest discovery is the development of microrobots targeting the lungs for pneumonia infections.

100% recovery from bacterial pneumonia 

The researchers aimed to efficiently deliver targeted drugs for bacteria into more challenging body regions like the lungs. The study subjects were mice models. In the study subject, the developed microrobots ensured a total elimination of the pneumonia-causing bacteria leading to a complete recovery. In contrast, the study control group of untreated mice with pneumonia infection did not survive beyond three days after the bacterial infection.

The scientists formed the microrobots from algae cells with antibiotic-filled nanoparticles on their surfaces. Because of the dynamic nature of algae, the microrobots can move around and deliver drugs directly to more bacteria in the lungs. The antibiotic-containing nanoparticles contained small biodegradable polymer spheres coated with neutrophil cell membranes, a white blood cell type.

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These cell membranes are unique because they can absorb and neutralize inflammatory molecules formed by bacteria and the body’s immune system. This microrobots’ structure causes the reduction of harmful inflammations, making them more effective at managing a pneumonia infection.

The microrobots were applied to treat mice with a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by bacteria. This type of pneumonia is commonly present in patients in the intensive care unit who are on mechanical ventilation. The microrobots traveled to the mice’s lungs via a tube inserted into the windpipe. After a week, the infections were gone. All mice with microrobots lived for more than 30 days, whereas untreated mice died within three days. The microrobot treatment also proved more effective in delivering antibiotics into the bloodstream than an IV injection.

Clinical significance

The study is clinically significant in potentially applying dynamic microrobots in treating deadly pneumonia infections, especially in patients on mechanical ventilation. With a complete recovery rate in mice models, these drug-delivering microrobots can improve the quality of recovery in a clinical setting. The study also shows a more effective method than IV antibiotics injections in microrobots.

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Modern medical interventions have incorporated the application of nanorobots for more efficient targeted therapy. The use of nanorobots in this study gives a better treatment method for pneumonia. The structure of the engineered robots allows for an easier and more dynamic way to deliver drugs to different organs in the body.


Nanoparticle-modified microrobots for in vivo antibiotic delivery to treat acute bacterial pneumonia



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