Are Nanorobots To Kill Cancer Cells in Our Near Future?
Technological advancements are making a significant impact on almost every sector in the world. From replacing humans with chatbots to automating manufacturing plants and using tracking devices in a variety of situation; almost anything seems possible now in the world of technology. One sector that has reaped significant rewards from these advancements is the health sector. Just a few of the changes made by using technology include artificial intelligence assisted surgery, tracking heart rhythms, devices to monitor glucose levels, and advanced scanning equipment. In fact, technology has become such an integral element of delivering health care that many aspects of technology have now become irreplaceable.
One of the most recent advances was a digital pill that has the capacity to allow doctors to track the activity of a patient and inform them if they are taking their medication. This was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2017. Digital medication is an area of healthcare that has steadily advanced in recent years, with scientists making great progress and uncovering new findings and techniques on a regular basis. This field of research is now one of the main focuses of drugs companies who want to be at the forefront of the pharmaceutical industry and also for medical researchers looking for cures and treatments.
Research in this area has recently discovered that it is possible to use tiny autonomous robots to kill cancer cells. This study was conducted using mice who were identified as having cancerous cells. The DNA nanobots were used to find the cancer-causing tumors and cut off their blood supply by injecting drugs. Surprisingly, these DNA nanobots then have the ability to kill themselves off by shriveling up. This is a very new advancement in the field of drug delivery. The nanobots are designed to fold up like origami before entering the body. Once inside the body, they unfold into the shape of a tiny machine.
The scientists and researchers involved published their paper in the journal ‘Nature’. In the journal, they outlined how they had demonstrated that it was possible to use the nanorobots to target the blood vessels of tumors which then inhibits tumor growth and results in tumor necrosis. The scientists went on to explain that this was achieved by the nanobots injecting a drug called thrombin into the vessels supplying affected cells.
To conduct the study, the scientists injected both human breast cancer tumor cells and the nanobots into mice. Within just 48 hours, the nanobots had grabbed all the cancer cells from the tumor, much to the delight of the scientists involved in this research. They did this by creating blood clots in the vessels of a tumor, thus causing a reduced blood supply and leading to the death of the cells.
What is particularly clever is that the research showed that the nanobots only created these blood clots in the places needed and did not create blood clots in any other areas of the body. The fact that the nanobots did not impact on any other areas of the mice’s bodies is significant as this potentially means that the technique can be used while causing only minimal invasion and damage to a patient. The scientists had the same promising results when they progressed the study to include testing on Bama miniature pigs.
The scientists have explained that the main purpose of conducting such a study was to show that there is the potential for nanobots to achieve the same results in humans. However, they also said that there is more work to be done before they can begin clinical trials that involve humans.
Although this research is still in its early stages, it is still considered one of the biggest breakthroughs in cancer research. It is also important to note that there is a significant difference between targeting cancer cells and cutting off their blood supply to using drugs in the treatment of cancer. Finding the balance between different techniques of preventing and treating cancer is still needed. Therefore, it is a waiting game to find out if the techniques used in this research will be deemed suitable for human trials and if this technique will become one of the cancer treatment options in the future.