Researchers have developed “nanomachines” that infiltrate and kill cells via mechanical molecular vibrations.
When body cells develop out of control and spread to other parts of the body, it is called cancer. Constant cell division in cancer causes it to penetrate surrounding tissue and develop solid tumors. Killing the cancer cells is a common component of cancer therapy.
Estimates for 2020 state that there were 1.8 million new cases of cancer identified in the US, and 600,000 individuals died from the disease. The most prevalent malignancies are colon, lung, breast, and prostate cancers. The average age of a cancer patient at diagnosis is 66, and 25% of all new cancer diagnoses are made in people between the ages of 65 and 74.
Proteins play a role in every biological activity and utilise mechanical motions to modify their structural properties. They are known as biological “nanomachines” because even minute structural variations in proteins have a significant influence on biological functions. Researchers have concentrated on the creation of nanomachines that resemble proteins in order to execute movement in the biological environment.
Cells, however, employ a number of defense mechanisms to protect themselves against the effects of these nanomachines. This limits any useful mechanical movement of nanomachines that may be employed in medicine.
The development of a novel biochemical nanomachine that penetrates the cell membrane and kills the cell via the molecular movements of folding and unfolding in certain cellular environments, such as cancer cells, has been reported by the research team led by Dr. Youngdo Jeong from the Center for Advanced Biomolecular Recognition at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).
They worked along with the groups led by professors Sang Kyu Kwak from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology’s School of Energy and Chemical Engineering and Ja-Hyoung Ryu from the department of Chemistry.