Produced by: MOS Video Department

Recently, a South Korean scientific team has developed “nanomachines” that can penetrate and kill cancer cells without drugs through the mechanical movement of molecules.

Artificial nanomachines that mimic biological functions are emerging to treat cancer,  but are still limited to lower levels of molecular components. Researchers have focused on developing nanomachines that mimic proteins to move within the cellular environment. However, cells use a variety of mechanisms to protect themselves from these nanomachines. This natural protective mechanism limits the associated mechanical movements of nanomachines that can be used for medical purposes.

New synthetic mechano-biochemical nanomachines developed by South Korean scientists, composed of mobile organic molecules and inorganic nanoparticles, can penetrate cell membranes and kill cells, such as cancer cells, through molecular motions that fold and unfold in specific cellular environments.

Meanwhile, scientists are also designing latch molecules in nanomachines. In normal cells with a relatively high pH of around 7.4, the movement of the nanomachines is restricted and cannot penetrate the cell. But at a lower pH of approximately 6.8 around cancer cells, the latch molecules unwrap, inducing mechanical movement and cell penetration. Compared with encapsulated nanocarriers that take therapeutic drugs, this new method can directly kill cancer cells through mechanical motion without needing anticancer drugs.

This scheme based on molecular-mechanical motions on hierarchical nanoclusters will facilitate the design of biomimetic nanotoxins. This could be a new option to overcome the side effects of existing chemotherapy.

Posted by: 呼吸的雾霾(文小呼吸)

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