Monday, 23 July, 2018

DNA Nanorobots Programmed To Kill Tumors: The Latest Weapon Against Cancer

Tumour cells nanorobots Arizona State University cancer treatment DNA Origami thrombin blood flow robotic systems nanomedicine atomic-state manufacturing Cancer-Fighting Nanorobots Are the Future
Johnnie Parks | 15 February, 2018, 04:38

Then, they used DNA fasteners to join the long edges of the rectangle, resulting in a tubular nanorobot with thrombin on the inside.

"We have developed the first fully autonomous, DNA robotic system for a very precise drug design and targeted cancer therapy", claims Hao Yan, Ph.D., director of the Arizona State University (ASU) Biodesign Institute's Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics and the Milton Glick Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences.

The challenges to advance in nanomedicine have been complex, because scientists have wanted to design, build, and control nanorobots to seek and destroy cancerous tumors but without damaging healthy cells.

Professor Greg Anderson said the group embedded the blood-clotting agent thrombin within the nanorobots to essentially starve the tumours of blood supply, once inside a body.

Most importantly, there was no evidence of the nanorobots spreading into the brain where it could cause unwanted side effects, such as a stroke.

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With one year left on his deal, it seems unlikely a team would pony up what it would take for the Eagles to part ways with Foles. It just felt like the right time and it's ultimately his decision, so he can say no, but that's the great thing about him.


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The treatment, according to the study, blocked the blood supply of the tumor and generated tumor tissue damage within 24 hours. After attacking tumours, most of the nanorobots were cleared and degraded from the body after 24 hours.

The team took a rectangular piece of DNA origami sheet - measuring just 90 nanometers by 60 nanometers - and peppered it with a protein known as thrombin. "The nanorobot proved to be safe and immunologically inert for use in normal mice and also in Bama miniature pigs, showing no detectable changes in normal blood coagulation or cell morphology", comments Prof. The nanorobot therapy also effectively prevented the development of melanoma metastases in the liver, "which can likely be attributed to the inhibition of primary tumor progression or to the regression of vascularized metastases", the researchers write.

While they're still experimental and haven't been tested in humans, these nanorobots show a lot of promise for treating cancer. After just two weeks of treatment, the researchers reported that the tumor tissue was shrinking.

The authors have "demonstrated that it's indeed possible to do site-specific drug delivery using biocompatible, biodegradable, DNA-based bionanorobots for cancer therapeutics", says Suresh Neethirajan, a bioengineer at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, who did not participate in the study. Now, some scientists there think they may be closing in on medical applications for the technology. But the results of this new study are promising - Yan and the research team are now hoping to pursue clinical testing. Note: material may have been edited for length and content.

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