Cancer-fighting nanorobots can seek, destroy tumours

New York: Scientists have successfully developed nanorobots using DNA origami that can shrink tumours by cutting off their blood supply, paving the way for novel cancer therapies.

Each nanorobot is made from a flat, rectangular DNA origami sheet, 90 nanometres by 60 nanometres in size. A key blood-clotting enzyme, called thrombin, is attached to the surface. Thrombin can block tumour blood flow by clotting the blood within the vessels that feed tumour growth, causing a sort of tumour mini-heart attack, and leading to tumour tissue death, researchers said.

“We have developed the first fully autonomous, DNA robotic system for a very precise drug design and targeted cancer therapy,” said Hao Yan, from Arizona State University (ASU) in the US.

“Moreover, this technology is a strategy that can be used for many types of cancer, since all solid tumour-feeding blood vessels are essentially the same,” said Yan.

DNA origami, in the past two decades, has developed atomic-scale manufacturing to build more and more complex structures.

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