A new nanomachine from UCLA kills cancer cells as controlled by light.
At the University of California, Los Angeles, a non-invasive means of cancer drug delivery is currently under development. Scientists present what they named “nanoimpeller,” a nanomachine which can operate inside a living cell. This nano-sized machine is designed to combat one of the most prolific killers of today-cancer. UCLA’s nanoimpellers are created to work pretty much like how IntelliDrug does. However, while IntelliDrug releases drugs as controlled remotely, said nanoimpellers release cancer cell killers based on light stimulus. In other words, the nanoimpellers release the drug upon exposure to light. The dosage and amount of drug released could be controlled by the light intensity and specific wavelengths.
Now, it’s at the pores of the nanoimpeller that drugs are equipped. In order for the system to work, the scientists had to make the pores photoactive (or light reactive). To do that, the scientists coated the inside of the pores with azobenzene, and used mesoporous silica nanoparticles. When the impellers are exposed to light, a wagging motion occurs which leads to the release of the medicine. To date, scientists have tested the system on pancreatic and colon cells, wherein which it was able to successfully kill the targets. The researchers have great faith in their invention. To quote: “This system has potential applications for precise drug delivery and might be the next generation for novel platform for the treatment of cancers such as colon and stomach cancer.”