According to a recent EurekAlert! article, researchers at Tufts University and Harvard University's Wyss Institute have developed tiny biological robots, called Anthrobots, from human tracheal cells. The multicellular bots, ranging from the width of a human hair to the point of a sharpened pencil, were self-assembled and demonstrated a remarkable healing effect on cultured neurons in a lab dish. Unlike previous Xenobots created from frog embryo cells, the Anthrobots were constructed from adult human cells without genetic modification.
The team found that the Anthrobots could move on their own and encourage neuron growth across damaged regions. The advantages of using human cells include the ability to construct bots from a patient's own cells, reducing the risk of immune responses. The Anthrobots, which naturally degrade after a few weeks, could potentially be applied in various therapeutic applications, such as clearing arterial plaque, repairing nerve damage, recognizing bacteria or cancer cells, and delivering targeted drugs.