DNA Nanobots Target and Kill Off Cancerous Tumours
Scientists have been able to show that tiny autonomous bots have the potential to function as intelligent delivery vehicles to cure cancer in mice.
The article published in Nature Biotechnology, explains how the DNA nanobots seek out and inject cancerous tumours with drugs that can cut off their blood supply, shriveling them up and killing them.
The paper said, “Using tumour-bearing mouse models, we demonstrate that intravenously injected DNA nanorobots deliver thrombin specifically to tumour-associated blood vessels and induce intravascular thrombosis, resulting in tumour necrosis and inhibition of tumour growth.”
Using DNA nanorobots in this way is a new concept for drug delivery. They actually work by getting programmed DNA to fold itself like origami and then deploying it like a small machine, ready for action.
The scientists were sure to test the delivery bots by injecting them into mice with human breast cancer tumours. Within 48 hours, the bots had grabbed onto vascular cells at the tumour sites, causing blood clots in the tumour’s vessels and cutting off their blood supply, leading to their death.
They went on to calm any fears over what might happen in larger animals, by demonstrating that the bots did not cause clotting in the healthy tissues of Barma miniature pigs.
The long-term goal is to eventually prove these bots can do the same thing in humans. Naturally, more work will need to be done before human trials begin.
However, there is no denying that this is a huge breakthrough in cancer. The current methods of either using chemotherapy to destroy every cell just to get at the cancer cell are barbaric in comparison. Using targeted drugs is also not as specific as simply cutting off blood supply and killing cancer on the spot. If the technique in question can secure approval for use on humans, then it could have impressive effects on those afflicted with the disease in the very near future.