Molecular robots latch onto cells, ID them for drugs

The molecular bots were used in experiments with lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Sometimes I can’t believe that it’s 2013 and we still don’t have tiny, disease-fighting robots swimming around in our bodies.

Well, researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and Columbia University haven’t created exactly that, but they have produced little critters that can latch onto targeted cells and “label” them.

The so-called molecular robots (aka molecular automata) are made up of antibodies and short snippets of DNA.

In a study in Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers described how these molecular robots could help design drugs that target harmful cells and leave surrounding beneficial cells alone.

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