Latest in Science

Image credit:

Mind-controlled nanobots release drugs inside cockroaches

The research could one day help patients release drugs into their own bodies.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
August 26, 2016
1 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Wikimedia/Jarek Tuszyński

Stay with me here -- scientists from Bar-Ilan University and the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel created nanobots, injected them into cockroaches, and released fluorescent drugs into the insects using mind power. While that sounds insanely convoluted, the aim is to actually help humans. If a schizophrenia patient is about to have a violent episode, for instance, an EEG could trigger the release of powerful drugs. That way, they'd only get them when needed, minimizing harmful side effects.

It's also pretty cool. The nanobots injected into the roaches are made from so-called DNA origami that's natural and easy to program. They're also fitted with iron oxide nanoparticle "locks" that open and release drugs when exposed to an EEG-controlled electromagnet. When EEG-wearing users increase their brain energy (by doing math), it powers up the magnet, which in turn activates the nanobots. The team can measure the fluorescence inside the bugs to confirm that it's working.

DNA Origami (Karolinska Institute)

The EEG could be programmed to detect psychotic episodes, ADHD or other brain issues, according to the team. The drug release could also be tightly controlled using molecules that only attach to certain cell types. For instance, the medication could be released only into cancer cells if attached to the right kind of molecule.

As with all things nanobot, the research isn't ready for human trials. There's no EEG portable enough to wear all the time and still practical, for one. And even though we've written about drug-releasing nanobots many, many times, they've never been tried in humans. The team that performed the cockroach research may have an edge, though. One of the scientists, Ido Bachelet from Bar-Ilan University, plans to trial nanobot cancer treatment on a terminally ill patient as early as this year.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
1 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Presenting the Best of CES 2021 winners!

Presenting the Best of CES 2021 winners!

View
Audi and BMW shut down car subscription programs

Audi and BMW shut down car subscription programs

View
Facebook and Google allegedly cut a deal that reduced ad competition

Facebook and Google allegedly cut a deal that reduced ad competition

View
Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee is going back to jail for bribery

Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee is going back to jail for bribery

View
'Hitman 3' owners won't have to buy earlier games to play their maps

'Hitman 3' owners won't have to buy earlier games to play their maps

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr