'DNA Origami' Nanorobots Could Find and Destroy Cancer Cells [VIDEO]

Mashable

Packages constructed of DNA dubbed "DNA origami" might one day be used to create nanorobots capable of finding and destroying cancer cells in the human body.

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The nanorobots mimic a cell's receptor system in order to communicate with cells. The cells can carry materials -- a "payload" -- to cancer cells, and when the nanorobot detects the cells it's hunting for, it will spring into action.

The study was published in Science on Thursday. Researchers Shawn M. Douglas, Ido Bachelet, George M. Church are all affiliated with Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Douglas developed the open-source software the researchers used called Cadnano to design the structures.

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Once the bots were designed, the research team built the tiny barrel-shaped nanobots that measures about 35 nanometers in diameter. Each nanobot can hold molecules that are meant to be delivered to cells. On the outside of the nanobots would be two strands that could help recognize target cells, and release their contents at the right time.

The system has yet to be tested in living organisms, but the researchers are considering testing the nanorobots in mice.

What do you think about this technology? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, Palto

This story originally published on Mashable here.

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