Nanotechnology applied to repairing/killing cancer cells
Posted by Charles II on February 16, 2012
Elizabeth Lopatto, Bloomberg:
Scientists have created a robot made entirely from DNA that can be instructed to find diseased cells in the body and deliver a payload to kill or reprogram them, according to a study from Harvard University.
The robot was constructed by folding DNA strands into a shape that looks roughly like a clamshell. The researchers programmed the nano-sized device to open in the presence of leukemia and lymphoma cells in a laboratory dish, where they delivered immune system antibodies that caused the cells to self-destruct, according to a report in the journal Science.
Besides cancer, the robots may also benefit people with autoimmune disease, Douglas said. One day, the robots might be used to find immune cells wrongly attacking the body and reprogram them, he said.
As I read Bloomberg, the DNA is useful because it unzips when it comes in contact with a target. So, the technique is not unique to DNA. But DNA synthesis is well-established and easy to tailor to protein targets.
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