The breakthrough has been achieved in the design of nanorobots destined to delivering drugs to desired locations inside human bodies. The biggest problem for researchers working on nanotechnology for medical purposes recently was the ability of these devices to move effectively trough biological fluids. Researchers from Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany achieved this by designing their nanorobots to resemble scallops.
This form allows nanorobot to move forward by opening and closing its shells. Researcher also managed to control the movement of these artificial organisms by inserting tiny magnets into their few hundred micronsnanobot large bodies. Micron is an extremely small unit of length, one millionth of a meter. By introducing external electromagnetic field, and changing its polarity when necessary, the closing of the shell can be faster than its opening, thus creating a forward momentum.
Such advanced devices will significantly reduce the necessity for surgeries in certain medical treatments, since these robots can target the affected areas with great precision and reach those which would otherwise be hard to attain. The project is still in the testing phase, but it will not take long before such or a similar device becomes a major tool in medical treatments.
In the near future we may expect them to identify and target tumor cells directly, leaving the healthy cells untouched. Current treatments for tumor, such as chemotherapy, attack all cells of a certain type, both malignant and healthy ones, inflicting significant collateral damage to the tissue surrounding cancer. Also, once on the target, these nanorobots could trigger a signal which would additionally help doctors in their diagnosis.
Apart from cancer treatments, the role of nanorobots in executing medical tasks is also being seriously considered in the fields of dermatology, hematology, immunology and dentistry. Nanorobots swimming in your bloodstream could detect changes in your blood vessels, repair the walls of the arteries, reducing their congestion and maintaining a smooth flow of the blood. This would prevent many heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases, which are the number one cause of death in the US.