Monday February 12, 2018

Cancer-Fighting Nanorobots Programmed to Seek and Destroy Tumors

It is being reported by ScienceDaily that scientists at Arizona State University, in collaboration with researchers from the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have successfully programmed nanorobots to shrink tumors by cutting off their blood supply. Each nanorobot is made from a flat, rectangular DNA origami sheet, 90 nanometers by 60 nanometers in size. A key blood-clotting enzyme, called thrombin, is attached to the surface.

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This is absolutely outstanding. The article states that the programming to make sure the nanobots only attack a cancer cell, comes in the form of a "DNA apatamer" which specifically targets a protein called "nucleolin" which is only found on the surface of tumor cells, and not on healthy cells. This can't become a viable treatment fast enough in my opinion.

"I think we are much closer to real, practical medical applications of the technology," said Yan. "Combinations of different rationally designed nanorobots carrying various agents may help to accomplish the ultimate goal of cancer research: the eradication of solid tumors and vascularized metastases. Furthermore, the current strategy may be developed as a drug delivery platform for the treatment of other diseases by modification of the geometry of the nanostructures, the targeting groups and the loaded cargoes."