Chinese scientists said they have successfully created and tested the world’s first autonomous DNA nano-robots to combat cancer tumors, paving the way for revolutionary cancer therapy.
This invention was made by scientists from China’s National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST) and cooperated with scientists from Arizona State University in upgrading the design of the nano-robots.
The scientific study of the research was published in Nature Biotechnology in February.
According to researcher Ding Baoquan, the DNA-based nanorobot has a tube-shaped structure with a diameter of about 19 nanometers and a length of about 90 nanometers.
“The nanorobot is exceptionally small and impossible to see with naked eyes. It is about 5,000 times smaller than the tip of a needle,” Ding said.
It can travel through the bloodstream searching for tumors. Once it detects a tumor, it will release its load of thrombin directly into the tumor to cut off its blood supply and “starve” the tumor to death.
The DNA nano-robot is a natural biocompatible and biodegradable material, it is easily cleared out of the body after it has finished its task.
According to scientist Zhao Yuliang, the research team also conducted extensive safety studies of the nanorobots in two different mammals, including the Bama miniature pig, which is physiologically and anatomically similar to humans.
“Unlike chemotherapy and radiation, the DNA nano-robots are able to treat tumors without harming surrounding healthy tissue. The nano-robots do not accumulate in the brain and thus, do not pose the risk of causing a stroke,” Zhao said.