New DNA nanorobots successfully target and kill off cancerous tumors

New DNA nanorobots successfully target and kill off cancerous tumors

Using "DNA origami", the researchers folded a DNA nanorobot into a tube structure containing thrombin on the inside.

"We have developed the first fully autonomous, DNA robotic system for a very precise drug design and targeted cancer therapy", said Professor Hao Yan, co-author and director of the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute's Centre for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, The Independent reported.

A study from Chinese researchers used nanorobots to deliver a clotting agent killing cancerous tumors.

BAOQUAN DING AND HAO YANDNA nanorobots that travel the bloodstream, find tumors, and dispense a protein that causes blood clotting trigger the death of cancer cells in mice, according to a study published today (February 12) in Nature Biotechnology.

Significant progress has been made in the field of nano-medicine and is about cancer.

In testing, the technology was successful against breast cancer, melanoma, ovarian, and lung cancer mouse models, and the researchers believe the success will continue because "all solid tumor-feeding blood vessels are essentially the same". Four thrombin molecules are attached to the origami sheet surface, which is then rolled up into a hollow tube with the thrombin molecules protected on the inside.

The scientists injected mice with human cancer cells to induce the growth of the aggressive tumor and when it increased in size, the nanorobots that were introduced, were very effective in reducing the tumor. The treatment blocked tumour blood supply and generated tumour tissue damage within 24 hours, while having no effect on healthy tissue.


"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", says Yuliang Zhao, also a professor at NCNST and lead scientist of the worldwide collaborative team. Then most of the nanotubes decompose and get rid of the body within another 24 hours. For the study, the team used a melanoma mouse model, where the nanorobot not only affected the primary tumour but also prevented the formation of metastasis, showing promising therapeutic potential.

The median survival time is more than doubled, extending from 20.5 to 45 days.

The authors are "looking at specific binding to tumor cells, which is basically the holy grail for. cancer therapy", says the University of Tennessee's Scott Lenaghan, who was not involved in the work.

They were found to be safe in tests on mice and pigs, with no evidence of spreading to the brain where they could cause a stroke.

Arizona State University and NCNST collaborators are actively pursuing clinical partners to further develop their technology.

"I think we are much closer to real, practical medical applications of the technology", said Professor Yan.

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