Berlin, Jan 16 (IANS): Apart from their natural act, sperms are set to be used as biological motors for transporting drugs, genes and other sperms to help treat infertility and other issues.
Called spermbots - sperms turned into micro-robots - they could be controlled from outside a patient’s body to deliver drugs, and even sperm itself, to parts of the body where it is needed, says a path-breaking research.
Researchers at Dresden Institute for Integrative Nanosciences in Germany are looking for a way to propel micro-robots through bodily fluids safely.
“We thought of using a powerful biological motor to do the job instead and we came up with the flagella of a sperm cell, which is physiologically less problematic,” professor Oliver G. Schmidt, director of the institute, was quoted as saying in Gizmag.com that covers new and emerging technologies.
To create these tiny robots, scientists designed microtubes, which are thin sheets of titanium and iron rolled into conical tubes and having a magnetic property.
They put the microtubes into a solution in a Petri dish and added bovine sperm cells, which are similar size to human sperm, said the report.
When a live sperm entered the wider end of the tube, it became trapped near the narrow end.
The scientists also closed the wider end, so the sperm wouldn’t swim out.
The trapped cell pushed against the tube, moving it forward.
Then, the scientists used a magnetic field to guide the tube in the direction they wanted it to go, relying on the sperm for the propulsion, the report said.