Chinese scientists have folded DNA molecules in an origami-like process to make a nano “Trojan horse”, which is thinner than 1/4000 of a hair and can release “killers” to fight cancer tumors.
Cancer cells need a lot of nutrition to multiply, but they do not produce nutrient substances, said lead researcher Nie Guangjun, from China’s National Centre for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST).
Through precision control, researchers folded a single-strand DNA of a phage (a type of virus) into a rectangular sheet.
Then they put four “killers” — molecules of thrombin (a clotting enzyme in blood plasma) — on the sheet and rolled them up.
At the interface, “locks” made by fragments of nucleolin protein DNA were installed, forming a tube-shaped nano “Trojan horse” or nanorobot, which is 90 nanometers long and has a diameter of 19 nanometers.
After injection, the “Trojan horse” travels in blood vessels and only tumors have the “key” to open the “locks”.