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Robotic thread. | Photo source MIT NEWS

Thread-like medical robot treats cerebral blood clots

Healthcare & Wellbeing

The magnetically controlled guidewire delivers drugs, breaks up blockages and lessens physical damage from procedures

Spotted: The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a soft robot to treat cerebral blood vessel damage. The guidewire could reduce incidences of permanent brain damage after strokes and aneurysms.

The thread-like robot is made from a nickel-titanium alloy and coated in ink embedded with magnets. A hydrogel coating makes the passage of the robot swifter and less irritating to surrounding tissue.

Current procedures require surgeons to manually manipulate wires guided by fluoroscopy up a vein to the injured blood vessel. By using the magnetically controlled robot, medical teams greatly reduce their exposure to radiation. 

Development of the device continues, with researchers focused on adding features such as laser beams and drug delivery capability. The scientists plan to soon trial the robot on live subjects. 

“Existing platforms could apply a magnetic field and do the fluoroscopy procedure at the same time to the patient, and the doctor could be in the other room, or even in a different city, controlling the magnetic field with a joystick,” said lead author Yoonho Kim.

Other recent medical innovations spotted by Springwise include injectable bandages that help stop internal bleeding and an expanding tissue scaffold that helps repair damaged organs.

Email: abbya@mit.edu

Website: meche.mit.edu

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