The futuristic treatment might sound like a sci-fi novel plot, but the cutting edge technology has already been successfully tested on mice.
According to a study published in Nature Biotechnology journal, the future of cancer treatment looks more than promising. The team of scientists behind the paper successfully conducted a trial in which sick mice were injected with nanorobots, which then located and shrunk their tumors by cutting off their supply to blood.
The DNA nanorobots were injected intravenously and function as a sophisticated drug delivery system. Essentially, the revolutionary bots are origami-folded DNA sheets that can reach tumors (or anything else, for that matter) in places that were impossible to reach before. Additionally, they could deliver drugs with extreme precision- in this particular case, they were targeting breast cancer with blood-clotting medication. The result? Within 48 hours, the nanobots reached the cancerous cells and caused clots to appear, which shriveled the tumors completely.
The potential benefits of such a ground-breaking discovery are almost infinite. But, most importantly, such a system, if effective on humans, could be used to transform and vastly improve current cancer treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation work by attacking and destroying every cell in a person’s body, but if DNA nanobots were to be used, the chemo drugs could be delivered to cancerous cells only- targeting the disease without causing a plethora of side-effects.
In addition to being tested on mice, the researchers used Bama miniature pigs to prove that the bots wouldn’t have an adverse effect on larger mammals. However, successful animal trials only signify a great start, and it will be some time before this futuristic treatment is available to humans. Either way, revolutionary methods and techniques such as this bring much-needed hope to a branch of medicine that needs it the most.
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