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ACM TechNews

Cancer-Fighting Nanorobots Seek and Destroy Tumors


The key to programming a nanorobot that attacks only a cancer cell was to include a special payload on its surface.

Researchers say they have successfully programmed tiny robots to destroy tumors by cutting off their blood supply.

Credit: ASU Biodesign Institute

Researchers at Arizona State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences say they have successfully programmed tiny robots to destroy tumors by cutting off their blood supply.

The nanorobots are constructed from self-folding DNA, and Chinese Academy of Sciences professor Baoquan Ding says they "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."

Each machine is built from a flat, rectangular DNA origami sheet with a key blood-clotting enzyme attached to the surface.

The nanorobots are injected into a subject's bloodstream via an IV, and they are equipped with a DNA aptamer that specifically targets a protein produced in high amounts only on the surface of tumor endothelial cells, to ensure the devices avoid healthy cells. Once it binds to the tumor blood vessel surface, the nanorobot is programmed to deliver its drug payload into the tumor.

From ASU Now
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