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This Tiny Robot Team Could Help Stop the No. 1 Killer in America

PrintThis year a few mice are set to become the first patients for a brand-new kind of heart disease treatment.

It’s a surgery being performed by tiny microsurgeons. The surgeons, called nanorobots, are really tiny groups of magnetically charged particles that band together to break up clogged arteries.

The robot molecules work on blockages in two stages. First they deliver drugs that help soften clogged arteries. Then they charge into battle, drilling in to blast heart blockages apart.

Biomedical engineer MinJun Kim, a professor at Drexel University, is part of the international team of scientists from the U.S., Switzerland, and South Korea who are working on the tech. He says the robots are controlled by harnessing the power of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the tunnel-like machines more commonly used for X-ray imaging in hospitals. Working with the nanobots, the MRI machines can serve as a kind of command and control center: both steering and observing the magnetically charged bots as they navigate their way around inside the body.

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