Tag Archives: Nanotechnology

Specialized DNA Nanobots Close Cancer Tumor’s Blood Supply

Specialized DNA Nanobots Close Cancer Tumor's Blood Supply
Specialized DNA Nanobots Close Cancer Tumor’s Blood Supply

Robotics has made quite a splash in manufacturing and industrial applications, and now it’s on the brink of a breakthrough in a completely different arena. Future cancer treatment options may include an army of tiny tumor-fighting nanobots.

Biochemistry Meets Industrial Technology

The concept is in the preliminary stages, so real-life use is still far off on the horizon. Scientists are encouraged by the results of a study that was recently published in Nature Biotechnology.

Researchers conducted the test on a group of mice with human breast cancer tumors. Specially engineered DNA nanobots containing a payload of thrombin, an enzyme that causes blood to clot, were then injected intravenously into the affected mice.

Once inside, the nanobots delivered the thrombin directly to tumor-associated blood vessels, where they induced intravascular thrombosis. As a result, cancer cells were deprived of their blood supply and ultimately died off.

Sparing Healthy Cells

While scientists welcome any advancement in cancer treatment, one particular aspect of DNA nanobots is especially promising. During testing on the mice, the nanobots focused exclusively on cancer cells. There was no damage to healthy cells, unlike results often found in traditional cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.

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Gold Nano Particles May Boost Lung Cancer Treatment

Gold Nano-particles Can be Introduced into the Bloodstream to Help Fight Cancer.
Gold Nano-particles Can be Introduced into the Bloodstream to Help Fight Cancer.

Gold may have a value that goes well beyond financial gain. Researchers have discovered that the shiny element can enhance the effectiveness of drugs used to treat lung cancer.

Cancer Treatment as Good as Gold

Testing was conducted at the University of Edinburgh, where Scientists took nanoparticles, which are microscopic particles of gold, and encased them in a chemical device. The object was then used on zebrafish to successfully accelerate their chemical reactions.

Dr. Asier Unciti-Broceta from Cancer Research U.K.’s Edinburgh center participated in the study. He explained that the team’s goal was to find a way to reduce side effects of current chemotherapy methods.

Lessening the Side Effects of Traditional Cancer Treatment

Side effects of cancer treatment are usually the result of drugs attacking healthy cells as well as diseased ones. According to Dr. Unciti-Broceta, their findings indicate that gold could possibly be used to safely release drugs inside tumors.

Immunotherapy for cancer is effective because it helps the immune system’s ability to target cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue. Researchers are continuing tests with nanoparticles in the hopes of applying a similar method with humans.

Dr. Aine McCarthy, also of Cancer Research U.K., expressed optimism that incorporating gold in immunotherapy for cancer could improve the outlook for hard-to-treat cancers such as brain tumors.

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