Nanorobots designed by a research team at the University of Montpellier will revolutionize the study of cell processes and interactions occurring at the nano-scale. Here’s how.
Maternity care is complicated. Each year, about The age of nanorobots in medicine has arrived—providing us with a window into a world that we know little of.
Researchers at the University of Montpellier have pioneered the use of a process called the DNA origami method to assemble 3D “nano-robots”. The nanometric-sized robot, called ‘Nano-winch’, is composed of DNA molecules.
The Nano-winch is designed to solve a unique challenge facing our understanding of cellular biology. Thus far, little is known about the way cells convert mechanical stimulus into biological signals (a phenomenon known as mechano-transduction), owing to technological barriers and our inability to experiment with cells at the nanoscale.
Consisting of three DNA origami structures, the Nano-winch can be positioned on the surface of the cell and directed to apply a force of 1 piconewton (equivalent to one trillionth of a Newton) to the receptors. To contextualize, 1 Newton is the amount of force required to click open a ballpoint pen.
The research has been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications
Nano-winches will allow researchers to activate multiple cell mechanoreceptors by applying an infinitesimally small force on the cell surfaces. By activating cell mechanoreceptors, medical practitioners can further study the mechanical interactions that produce biosignals—allowing them to achieve therapeutic effects by recognizing and selectively activating receptors—a feat previously deemed impossible.
“The design of a robot enabling the in vitro and in vivo application of piconewton forces meets a growing demand in the scientific community and represents a major technological advance”, comments Inserm researcher GaëtanBellot.
The advent of nanorobots in medical science represents an age of precision diagnostics at a scale and extent hitherto unfathomable. By employing microrobots and nanorobots in diagnosis and targeted drug delivery, medical science can achieve benefits to human health which were impeded by our macroscopic limitations.
The applications of the nanorobots that follow this development are groundbreaking.
As nanotechnology in medicine matures, key limitations in medical science can be overcome. In time, diseases affecting cellular structures, the structure, replication and repair of DNA will witness newer, more advanced and more precise forms of treatment, changing the way healthcare is delivered for all of the time.