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"DNA nanobots deliver drugs in living cockroaches"

dna nanobots delivery drugs computers

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#1 LexLux

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 07:47 PM

This article in the NewScientist discusses an experiment where DNA nanobots were injected into Commodore Cockroaches. I think this really exciting research and could be potentially game-changing for increased longevity!



"It's a computer – inside a cockroach. Nano-sized entities made of DNA that are able to perform the same kind of logic operations as a silicon-based computer have been introduced into a living animal.


The DNA computers – known as origami robots because they work by folding and unfolding strands of DNA – travel around the insect's body and interact with each other, as well as the insect's cells. When they uncurl, they can dispense drugs carried in their folds.

"DNA nanorobots could potentially carry out complex programs that could one day be used to diagnose or treat diseases with unprecedented sophistication," says Daniel Levner, a bioengineer at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

Levner and his colleagues at Bar Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel, made the nanobots by exploiting the binding properties of DNA. When it meets a certain kind of protein, DNA unravels into two complementary strands. By creating particular sequences, the strands can be made to unravel on contact with specific molecules – say, those on a diseased cell. When the molecule unravels, out drops the package wrapped inside."




"The number of nanobots in the study – more than in previous experiments – makes it particularly promising, says Bachelet. "The higher the number of robots present, the more complex the decisions and actions that can be achieved. If you reach a certain threshold of capability, you can perform any kind of computation. In this case, we have gone past that threshold," he says.

The team says it should be possible to scale up the computing power in the cockroach to that of an 8-bit computer, equivalent to a Commodore 64 or Atari 800 from the 1980s. Goni-Moreno agrees that this is feasible. "The mechanism seems easy to scale up so the complexity of the computations will soon become higher," he says.

An obvious benefit of this technology would be cancer treatments, because these must be cell-specific and current treatments are not well-targeted. But a treatment like this in mammals must overcome the immune response triggered when a foreign object enters the body.

Bachelet is confident that the team can enhance the robots' stability so that they can survive in mammals. "There is no reason why preliminary trials on humans can't start within five years," he says."


Journal reference: Nature NanotechnologyDOI: 10.1038/nnano.2014.58

Edited by LexLux, 08 April 2014 - 07:49 PM.

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#2 LexLux

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 09:37 PM

My reference to "Commodore Cockroaches" - that obviously was not a species lol 

Edited by LexLux, 08 April 2014 - 09:45 PM.

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: dna, nanobots, delivery, drugs, computers

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