In 4-5 years, vascular surgeons are likely to use microscopic, magnetic robots to clear blocked arteries. Such a minimally invasive procedure was developed by collaborative efforts of 11 institutions funded by $18 million.
Robotic swimmers with tiny drills were modeled after the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which causes Lyme’s Disease. The spiral-shaped bacteria burrows through healthy tissue killing cells in its wake.
Surgeons will control the magnetic field, directing the speed and direction of the robotic swarm. After the arteries are again functional, the robots will deliver an anticoagulant compound to reduce the chance of future blockage.