Nanorobots successfully target, destroy cancer cells

Image: Sock Photo

Scientists have successfully demonstrated the use of nanorobots to look for and directly administer drugs to cancer cells without harming healthy ones.

According to a study published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, researchers refer to them as “DNA nanorobots.” These tiny, microscopic robots made from DNA were pre-programmed to automatically look for and destroy cancer cells.

Current cancer treatments involve bombarding the entire body of radiation, which destroys both cancer and healthy cells, a costly and sometimes traumatic practice for patients. The more direct approach may make the fight against cancer easier.

When injected into test mice carrying human breast cancer tumors, the DNA nanorobots found and attached themselves to cancer cells within 48 hours. The nanorobots then injected drugs to cut off blood supply to the cancer cells which eventually lead to the cells’ death.

Furthermore, the scientists discovered that the nanorobots completely ignored healthy cells.

The DNA nanorobots roll up when not needed then spread open to attach themselves to cancer cells like flypaper.  Image: Nature Biotechnology

The same results were observed when tested on Bama miniature pigs. This addressed concerns about the DNA nanorobots’ performance in larger animals.

There are still more tests to run before human trials can begin, but the team is optimistic about the technology not just for fighting cancer but as a new way of drug delivery.  /ra


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