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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Study shows DNA nanobots can stunt and shrink cancer

A cure for tumours that utilises nanobots smaller than a human hair has successfully limited blood supply cancerous growths

The nanobots are using the principles of origami, the art of paper folding, to shrink down the biotechnology which is targeting the tumours
The nanobots are using the principles of origami, the art of paper folding, to shrink down the biotechnology which is targeting the tumours

The science-fiction future of cancer treatment has suddenly become incredibly real. A new potential cure for tumours that utilises microscopic nanobots which are smaller than a human hair has been shown to successfully limit the blood supply to the cancerous growths, essentially starving them to death,

Scientists from Arizona State University (ASU) and the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences showed how the nanobots could effectively cut off the ability to grow and spread.

“Using tumour-bearing mouse models, we demonstrate that intravenously injected DNA nanorobots deliver thrombin specifically to tumour-associated blood vessels and induce intravascular thrombosis, resulting in tumour necrosis and inhibition of tumour growth,” the paper explains.

The studies were conducted on mice, and within two weeks they were seen to have a demonstrable effect on breast cancers, melanoma, ovarian and lung cancer in the animals.

Hao Yan, director of the ASU Biodesign Institute’s Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, said: “We have developed the first fully autonomous, DNA robotic system for a very precise drug design and targeted cancer therapy. Moreover, this technology is a strategy that can be used for many types of cancer, since all solid tumour-feeding blood vessels are essentially the same.”

The nanobots are using the principles of origami, the art of paper folding, to shrink down the biotechnology which is targeting the tumours. The sheets of DNA used, which are 90 nanometres by 60 nanometres, deliver an enzyme direct to the blood vessels at the heart of the tumour.

The nanobots not only prevent growth of tumours but also shrink them. “These nanorobots can be programmed to transport molecular payloads and cause on-site tumour blood supply blockages, which can lead to tissue death and shrink the tumour.” said Baoquan Ding, a professor at the NCNST.

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