One of the biggest challenges in the medical sciences is administering a drug into the body that is supposed to carry out its effect on a particular targeted cell.
Up till now, scientists have tried to develop external nanobots. These nanobots were coated with the drug and controlled externally after being administered into the bloodstream. Even though these nanobots were designed to target specific cells in a human body, the procedure of administering drugs through them was still somewhat complicated.
This time around, A team of scientists from the University of California San Diego and the University of Science and Technology Beijing, have figured out a way to administer a drug to a targeted cell using platelets.
Platelets are already present in human blood, and engineering them in a way to fulfill the purpose of an external nanobot has opened up a new dimension in the field of medical sciences.
Platelets are habitual of going with the flow of the blood and do not possess any ability to move on their own. To make this movement inevitable, the platelets are coated with an enzyme called urease. when this enzyme comes in contact with urea molecules, a reaction occurs that forces the platelets to show movement. The platelets are coated asymmetrically with different concentrations of the enzyme depending on the speed they are required to move at and the direction of their required movement.
Usually, the platelets are used to form blood clots, this time around they will be used to administer certain drugs. This process reduces the risk of having side effects as compared to administering an external agent into the bloodstream. The enzyme also seemed to have no harmful effect on the protein structure of the platelets.