Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Direct Delivery

Algae propelled by their long tails and steered using magnetic microbeads could be used to deliver drugs in the body

29 October 2018

Direct Delivery

To make sure drugs reach their target cells even in the most inaccessible places, researchers are recruiting mobile single-celled organisms to swim around the body, delivering the goods where they’re most needed. Bacteria are often used to develop these systems but have the potential to reproduce rapidly in the body, at the risk of becoming toxic, so a team of scientists is working on an alternative, based on the freshwater alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Propelling themselves forward with their long tails, these single-celled algae (pictured, in green) can swim through body fluids, such as blood and plasma. With magnetic microbeads (in orange) attached to the algae, their movements can be steered using a magnetic field, and the beads can store useful compounds for delivery. Experiments in the laboratory showed that the algae could successfully transfer molecules to mammalian cells, paving the way for future tests in live organisms.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.