The Big Think

March 25, 2010

Medical Nanobots on the Horizon

Filed under: Science — jasony @ 12:20 pm

Specially constructed molecules could potentially block the expression of genes critical to the reproduction of viruses and the spread of cancer. But until now, doctors had been unable to direct those molecules to the right cellular nuclei. Scientists from the California Institute of Technology solved this problem by placing the RNA molecules in a specialized polymer robot with a chemical sensor. When the environment of a cancerous cell triggered the chemical sensor, the robot releases the RNA.

The trial involved three people with melanomas who received the RNA-load nanoparticles intravenously four times, for 30 minutes, over three weeks. At the end of that time, samples taken from the melanomas showed both the presence of the RNA, and a reduction in tumor gene expression.

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