Wouldn’t it be easier to deal with disease if our bodies just fixed themselves? That’s asking quite a bit from our physiologies, but Israeli researchers are working on tiny nano-computers that could do the job for us. They envision tiny machines made of biomolecules that autonomously troll the body looking for disease, computing a diagnosis and delivering drugs all at the same time. It’s a long way off, but they’re making progress--they’ve just developed a biomolecular computer that can autonomously identify multiple molecules at the same time.
From a biomolecular computing standpoint (as well as from a diagnostics standpoint), that’s pretty huge. The researchers have previously demonstrated a biomolecular computer that could sense disease indicators one at a time. Existing in a two state system, it essentially was programmed in a “yes” state for a certain disease indicator. It then performed a series of computation steps, checking for one mRNA disease indicator after another.If all the indicators of a certain disease are present, the biocomputer would end unchanged in the same “yes” state. If any of the indicators were not present, it would end in a “no” state. It was rudimentary, but it was a diagnosis if an imperfect one.