Scientists make DNA robot to kill cancer cells

After attaching to the target cell, the barrel shape nanorobot opens and delivers its cargo.

Researchers at Harvard University said they have successfully made a DNA robot which acts almost as a postal worker and is capable of targeting particular cells such as cancerous cells and deliver them self-destruction order.

The robots were designed in the shape of an open barrel made of two halves joined by a hinge. The two halves are held shut by special DNA latches that respond to particular targets by allowing the two halves to swing open and expose their payload.

To produce the biologic robot, George M. Church, Shawn Douglas and their colleagues used a technique called ‘DNA origami’, in which long DNA chains are folded in a prescribed way.

The programmable nanorobot also carries on its surface some peptide molecules called aptamers that can identify specific proteins on the outer layer of the targeted cells and bind to them, researchers wrote in the journal Science.

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