DNA nanobots will target cancer cells in the first human trial using a terminally ill patient
'... Professor Ido Bachelet of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University confirms that while tiny robots being injected into a human body to fight disease might sound like science fiction, it is in fact very real.
Nanobots are actually made from DNA, specifically a single strand of DNA folded into a desired shape. Bachelet’s nanobots are designed in a clamshell shape, and work as a carrier for existing cancer drugs. Think of them like a protective box. They’ve been programmed to be in two states—an “off” position, where they’re closed tightly so they can bypass healthy cells without causing any damage, and an “on” position, where the clamshell opens up to expose cancerous cells to the drug in question.
Nanobots can also have multiple “payloads” in them, and can be programmed so that they know which drug to expose to specific molecules. This means that nanobots work well in combination therapy—where multiple drugs are used at once—and can be timed so that the different drugs don’t interfere with one another. As of December 2014, the nanobots that Bechelet’s team have developed can recognize 12 different types of cancerous cells.
Currently, the team is also working on instilling their nanobots with “swarm behaviour” and have figured out how to get the bots to build physical bridges with each other. This would allow them to fix tissue from one end to the other, guiding the regrowth of cells across a larger area, which could be helpful in repairing spinal cords or long sections of muscle.