Cancer-Fighting Nanorobots Programmed to Seek and Destroy Tumors

Cancer-Fighting Nanorobots Programmed to Seek and Destroy Tumors

For this, they cut the blood supply of the tumor by inducing blood coagulation with a fully programmable robotic system. "These nanorobots can be programmed to transport molecular payloads and cause on-site tumor blood supply blockages, which can lead to tissue death and shrink the tumor", notes Prof.

In this study, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology today, the DNA sheets were folded into a tube shape to encase blood-clotting drug, Thrombin.

It may sound like the opening of a science-fiction novel but a study into the use of DNA nanorobots could pave the way to a new era of targeted cancer treatments.

Delivered by IV into mice with models of breast, lung, melanoma, and ovarian cancers, the nanorobots worked quickly, many locating and congregating around the tumor within 2 hours of injection.

What's Next For The Tumor-Killing Nanobots?

Nanorobots are so-called due to their tiny size and because they contain parts capable of movement within the body. He continued, "Moreover, this technology is a strategy that can be used for many types of cancer, since all solid tumor-feeding blood vessels are essentially the same".

The DNA nanorobots have not yet been tested in humans, but they hold enormous potential as a safe and effective method for killing tumors and treating cancer.

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The team also carried out extensive safety studies in two different mammals, including the Bama miniature pig, which is physiologically and anatomically very similar to humans.

Made of a flat, rectangular DNA origami sheet, each nanobot features an average of four thrombin blood-clotting molecules, which stop blood flow in affected areas and cause a sort of "tumor mini heart attack". Further analyses showed that nanorobot administration led to blood vessel occlusion in the tumors within just 24 hours; by 48 hours there was advanced thrombosis, and by 72 hours dense thrombi were evident in all the tumor vessels. Median survival time more than doubled in the melanoma model, from a median of 20.5 days up to 45.

At Arizona State University (ASU), years of research have poured into the study of nanorobots as cancer-fighting tools.

'This is the first time that DNA molecules have been manipulated to deliver drugs in this way - a fascinating advance that, if refined and proven effective in humans, could have far-reaching implications for treating cancer and other diseases'.

"I think we are much closer to real, practical medical applications of the technology", said Yan. In melanoma mice, treatment not only shrunk primary tumors, but also prevented metastases.

Independent academics said the animal test results could have promising implications for humans.

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