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A research team from UNIST has made a discovery that might revolutionize cancer treatment as we know it- new cell-engaging nano-drones that were designed to target and eliminate cancer cells selectively.
These tiny bots are called NK cell-engaging nano-drones (NKeNDs), and their success lies in their ability to engage natural killer (NK) cells, the body’s frontline defenders against cancer. Using NK cells in cancer treatment is not new, but what sets these nanodrones apart is their precision. They are engineered to zero in on cancer cells almost like guided missiles.
As reported by Interesting Engineering, the research team at UNIST incorporated specific cancer-targeting and NK cell-recruiting ligands onto these nanodrones, thus achieving this groundbreaking milestone.
When tested in the lab, the nanodrones showed an impressive ability to selectively bind themselves to different types of cancer cells while “rallying” NK cells to “take down” the invaders. When trialed on mice, administering the new nanodrones alongside human immune cells led to a significant slowdown in tumor growth without any harmful effects – a monumental achievement.
When discussing the potential of this research, Professor Kang Se-byung excitedly emphasized the possibility of customizing treatments for various cancers using these NK cell delivery nanodrones, specifying that it is not just about targeting cancer cells but rather about doing so with precision while minimizing collateral damage.
This groundbreaking study was published in Nano Today and has hopefully opened the door to a new era in cancer treatment, an era where nanodrones could be the solution for a safe and secure treatment for the relentless disease.