n a major advancement in nanomedicine, Arizona State University scientists, in collaboration with researchers from the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have successfully programmed nanorobots to shrink tumors by cutting off their blood supply.
"We have developed the first fully autonomous, DNA robotic system for a very precise drug design and targeted cancer therapy," said Hao Yan, director of the ASU Biodesign Institute's Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics and the Milton Glick Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences.
"Moreover, this technology is a strategy that can be used for many types of cancer, since all solid tumor-feeding blood vessels are essentially the same," Yan said.
Seek and destroy
Yan is an expert in the field of DNA origami, which in the past two decades has developed atomic-scale manufacturing to build more and more complex structures.
The bricks to build their structures come from DNA, which can self-fold into all sorts of shapes and sizes — all at a scale 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair — in the hopes of one day revolutionizing computing, electronics and medicine.
That one day may be coming a bit faster than anticipated.
Nanomedicine is a new branch of medicine that seeks to combine the promise of nanotechnology to open up entirely new avenues for treatments, such as making minuscule, molecule-sized nanoparticles to diagnose and treat difficult diseases, especially cancer.