Scientists strive to cure cancer with DNA robots
However, new cells are created with existing ones not dying without further need, the extra cells become a mass of diseased cells, eventually leading to a tumor. It is difficult to destroy cancer cells which circulate and contaminate body.
The current prescription for healing cancer has side effect of killing healthy cells, which can be seen in the loss of hairs by cancer patients. However, scientists have introduced a new cure that could select and kill only cancer cells.
A nanometer device widely used in targeted therapy for cancer releases antibodies that stop the cell’s growth when it meets with cancer cell proteins. However, the method has received criticisms from scientists because the device is a foreign substance to the body which could cause side effects.
According to the Science Magazine on Feb. 17, a miniscule robot-like device built from DNA has been developed by professors from Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts.
The DNA nano robots flow in blood vessels of human body searching for cancer cells. Then when the robot encounters a particular molecule like a protein only found on the surface of a cancer cell it opens like a combination lock and releases the antibody chemical inside. Another benefit of the DNA system is that it naturally dissolves in the body without causing rejection from the body.
During the experiment, the robots accurately transmitted the antibodies to leukaemia cells out of a mixture of cell types. Around 1000 robots have been tested. Researches explained that they designed the device after a white blood cell which reacts instantly when it recognizes any viruses. However, the robot has the shape of a shell not a ball.
Shawn Douglas, a biophysicist at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, who developed the software, says the robot needs further improvement. However, the development itself can mean one step toward curing cancer.