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A group of South Korean scientists have developed a microscopic robot that can both detect and treat cancer. The nanorobot is powered by a special, genetically-modified bacteria that can detect substances and proteins associated with cancer growth. Once it reaches a cancer cell, the 3-micrometer robotic device automatically sprays anticancer drugs. The robot opens the doors for a more targeted approach to fighting cancer, which is likely to have fewer side effects than conventional treatments like chemo or radiation, which attack the entire body.
Photo © Scientific Reports
Unfortunately, the device has some serious limitations. It can currently only detect solid cancers, such as breast or colorectal cancer. The developers are hoping to advance the technology further so that it can detect more types of cancer in earlier stages. The scientists have already patented their nanorobot in the U.S., Japan, and all members of the EU, although for now human trials look to be far off. They’ve published their findings in the latest edition of the online journal Scientific Reports.
Via Yonhap News