Technology has penetrated virtually every sector in the world. Along with automation at manufacturing plants, replacement of humans with chatbots, and tracking water levels in dams, it has been used in healthcare sector. Various applications in healthcare sector have been depending on technology. From glucose monitoring devices to tracking heart rhythm and from performing surgeries with the help artificially intelligence machines to MRI scans, technology has become an irreplaceable thing for the healthcare industry.
In November 2017, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave an approval to a digital pill which was equipped sensors to help doctors in tracking patient activity. It informs whether patient has been taking prescribed medication along with number of times it has been taken. Moreover, it will inform patients to take medication on time if forgotten. The advancements in digital medication technology have been advancing steadily. Many companies have shifted their focus on development of digital medication to get their noses front in the industry.
The recent advancement showed that tiny autonomous robots were able to kill cancer tumors in mice. These DNA nanobots sought cancer-causing tumors and injected drugs to cut off their blood supply. Then these bots shrivel and kill them off. DNA nanobots is a new concept in the field of drug delivery. They fold themselves into an origami structure through programmed DNA and deployed into body in a shape of tiny machine.
The paper published in the journal Nature, outlined, “Using tumor-bearing mouse models, we demonstrate that intravenously injected DNA nanorobots deliver thrombin specifically to tumor-associated blood vessels and induce intravascular thrombosis, resulting in tumor necrosis and inhibition of tumor growth.”
The scientists conducted an experiment through injection of delivery bots into mice along with human breast cancer tumors. To their surprise, all the cancer cells were grabbed at sites of tumor within 48 hours. Blood clots were created in tumor’s vessels and blood supply was cut to lead these cells to death. According to the research paper, these bots did not cause any blood clots at other parts of the body, targeting only cancerous cells they were programmed to target. The research also showed that nanobots did not cause blood clots in healthy tissues when tested on Bama miniature pigs, which send a wave of relief among scientists. It addressed the issue of what will happen if the bots are injected into large animals.
Scientists outlined that the objective of the study was to prove these nanobots can kill cancerous cells in humans too. They also informed that there is a scope for more work before trials on human begin. Though this research is in the nascent stage, it is one of the great breakthroughs in the field of cancer research. However, targeting cancer-causing cells and killing the blood supply is not as same as using targeted drugs. Only time will tell if this technique and other techniques in development stage would get approval for implementation on human in near future.