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Tech & Science Researchers use nanorobots to kill tumors in mice

09:46  13 february  2018
09:46  13 february  2018 Source:   engadget.com

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To test their nanorobots , the researchers injected them into mice infected with human breast cancer cells and human ovarian cancer cells as well as mouse models of human melanoma and lung cancer. In each case, the nanorobots extended the life of the mice and slowed or reversed tumor growth.

The nanorobots successfully and safely killed cancers in mice . Microscopic robots may soon be used to target and destroy tumors , new research suggests. Researchers at Arizona State University programmed specially designed sheets of DNA - a thousand times smaller than a human hair - to flow.

a rodent looking at the camera© Provided by Engadget Our current methods of fighting malignant tumors are wildly inadequate. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments, while sometimes successful, come with massive side effects, mainly because every other cell in the body is also getting bombarded with chemicals and radiation even though the main targets are the tumor cells. Finding a way to specifically target tumor cells while leaving healthy cells alone is something that many researchers are working towards and a new study out today demonstrates that nanorobots made out of DNA could be an effective option.

The research team took DNA from a virus and turned it into a sort of DNA sheet. That sheet was then loaded with an enzyme called thrombin -- a chemical that can clot blood -- and the sheet was then rolled into a tube, with the thrombin kept protected inside. To the ends of that DNA tube, the researchers attached small bits of DNA that specifically bind to a molecule found in tumor cells, and they served as a kind of guide for the DNA nanorobots. The idea is that once the nanorobots are introduced into an organism, they'll travel around and when those guiding bits of DNA come into contact with those tumor-associated molecules, they'll attach. Then, the DNA tube will open up, exposing the thrombin within. That thrombin will then clot the blood supply to the tumor, effectively cutting off its nutrients and ultimately killing it.

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

Testing the nanorobots . They tested these DNA nanorobots on mice with a few types of tumour models, including human breast cancer, melanoma, ovarian cancer, and lung cancer. "It turned out this nanorobot can be delivered and target to this tumour , and regress the tumour , and increase the

To test their nanorobots, the researchers injected them into mice infected with human breast cancer cells and human ovarian cancer cells as well as mouse models of human melanoma and lung cancer. In each case, the nanorobots extended the life of the mice and slowed or reversed tumor growth. Further, in the case of the melanoma model, the nanorobots appeared to be able to prevent the spread of melanoma to the liver and with the lung cancer model, the lungs even showed an ability to begin repairing themselves once the tumor growth had slowed.

Of course, the ability to treat tumors would be moot if the nanorobots themselves posed a risk to people. But the team showed that the bots didn't clot blood outside of the tumors and they didn't trigger any significant immune responses in either mice or pigs.

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Researchers have developed a method using microscopic robots to kill cancerous tumors and stifle future growth. The study published in the journal Nature Biotechnology In the study involving mice , the nanorobots were able to deliver the thrombin and kill the tumors , as well as inhibit tumor growth.

"These nanorobots can be programmed to transport molecular payloads and cause on-site tumor blood supply blockages, which can lead to tissue death Using a mathematical modeling approach, scientists have found that certain parameters of tumor growth in mice can predict the effectiveness of

While they're still experimental and haven't been tested in humans, these nanorobots show a lot of promise for treating cancer. "Our research shows that DNA-based nanocarriers have been shown to be an effective and safe cancer therapy," Guangjun Nie, one of the researchers on the project, said in a statement. "We are currently working with a biotech firm to translate this revolutionary technology into a viable anti-tumor therapeutic."

The research was published today in Nature Biotechnology.

Nature Biotechnology

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