A team of scientists have tried to figure out a way to deliver medicine in our bodies right at the specific place of action, as it they were delivering a cargo. This task is no easy one, since molecular cargos are a little harder to manipulate. However, scientists managed to build a DNA robot which is able to deliver medicine to a certain destination in the body.
The robot follows a string of DNA
With the help of one single DNA strand, researchers from Caltech managed to create this tiny robot. They equipped the robot with an arm and hand, and a single leg featuring two feet. Then, they created a track made from DNA by putting one single sample on each peg of the track. The robot moves by attaching to one peg after another, and linking to its DNA.
On its track, the DNA robot might stumble upon a molecule which carries cargo. This molecule is easily recognizable, as it is linked to a single DNA strand. When the two of them meet, the robot takes the cargo from it, and then drops it off to the place specially designated as a destination.
The DNA robot can effectively differentiate between various types of cargo
Researchers used two types of cargo in the experiment. One of them was dyed in fluorescent pink, and the other one in fluorescent yellow. They did this to show that the DNA robot was able to differentiate between these two. One robot can deal with six molecules of cargo per day. If the number of robots increase, the process gets quicker and more efficient.
This design is a neat one, which allows more robots to function at the same time without getting mixed up. Of course, this process could be applied for delivering drugs directly where they are needed, or for general synthesis of the chemical. However, at the moment, scientists were only able to design the DNA robot and its way of functioning. There is still a lot of work until they can be used for specific purposes.