TOP Comments
  • #1 Jim
    Resident Expert point
    This was probably enabled by the 2017 breakthrough of producing the "staples" that hold the DNA strands together cheaply along with the DNA strands in bacteriophages, then using "DNAzymes" to break off the staples.

    phys.org/news/2017-12-dna-origami-surpasses-important-thresholds.html

    "Cost-effective mass production

    To date, manufacturing processes have limited the scope of application to those requiring only small amounts of material. The fact that only a few micrograms can be manufactured with conventional methods precludes many potential medical and materials science applications.

    The bottleneck is the short staple strands that must be chemically produced base by base. The main strand obtained from bacteriophages, on the other hand, can be produced on a large scale using biotechnological processes.

    That is why the team led by Hendrik Dietz refined so-called DNA enzymes, a discovery stemming from synthetic biotechnology. These are DNA strands that break apart at specific positions when exposed to a high concentration of zinc ions.

    They joined the short staple sequences to a long strand using two modified DNA enzymes each. "Once precisely assembled with a specific base sequence, these combined strands can be reproduced in a biotechnological process, as with single strands of bacteriophage DNA," says Dietz, explaining the key feature of the process."
  • Futurist point
    This is, imho, a very good next step though much needs to be done and there are complementary therapies that can work together. It's gone a ways since this tech first appeared, about 2012. The challenges to make it work are substantial, but are being worked out. The nano tech needs to defend itself, it needs to exit the body or risk toxicity, it needs to ensure the right bondings (only kill bad cells) etc. Potentially connect this to targeted alpha therapy. All good, but still some years off. Biology is really tough.
  • NBF Moderator point
    Yes. While nanobots are promising and will doubtless be very useful in future medicine, I'd bet on the tumor vaccine previously discussed here at NBF. Doesn't just shrink the tumor, eliminates it. Perhaps even more importantly, the vaccine causes the body's immune system to wipe out all metastases and seems to prevent their recurrence.