The polymer core (white) is coated with segments of red blood cell membranes (orange)
A transmission electron microscope image of one of the nanosponges
A rendering of the nanosponges attracting bloodstream-borne toxins
If you’ve seen many old westerns, then you’ll likely have watched a few scenes where one cowboy has to suck rattlesnake venom out of another one’s leg. Things would have been much easier for those cowboys if nanosponges had been around at the time. Developed by scientists at the University of California, San Diego, the tiny sponges mimic red blood cells, and are able to soak up lethal toxins – including snake venom and bacteria – from the bloodstream.
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