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New nanobots can swim around a wound and kill bacteria

Wired: 'Researchers have created autonomous particles covered with patches of protein “motors.” They hope these bots will tote lifesaving drugs through bodily fluids....

'...Sánchez’s team created two sizes of bots made of silicon dioxide (or silica): nanoparticles and slightly larger microparticles. They used a protein called urease to propel those chassis. Urease is an enzyme that turns the body’s urea into ammonia and carbon dioxide. Like a car’s engine, that enzyme turns a chemical reaction into mechanical energy; urea is its fuel.

'The trick, Sánchez says, is to cover the bots with motors asymmetrically. Patchy, lopsided motor placement lets the bot move chaotically away from its starting point rather than circling around it. “Perfect is not nice,” he jokes.

'De la Fuente’s lab contributed the cargo, one of two antimicrobial peptides: LL-37, a long natural antimicrobial peptide, or K7-Pol, a shorter synthetic one derived from wasp venom. Either one will disintegrate a bacterial cell membrane, basically melting a germ and rendering it useless. (K7-Pol has shown potency in labs against parasites and cancer cells, too.)'

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