A group of South Korean scientists has developed a nano-robot capable of effectively seeking out and destroying cancer cells, the science ministry said last Tuesday.
The team led by Park Jae-hyung of Sungkyunkwan University developed the nanobot that uses photodynamic therapy to effectively kill cancer cells while inflicting minimal damage to the surrounding healthy cells.
Photodynamic therapy, a rising noninvasive cancer therapy, refers to the process of the patient being given a light-sensitive drug that is absorbed by both cancerous and healthy cells. Lights are then given to induce cell death.
The current photodynamic therapy, however, is only used for skin cancer or lesions in very shallow tissue, as it fails to reach deeper set cancer cells such as liver and pancreas.
The team developed the nanobot made out of gold and titanium that can be controlled by ultrasound, promising a new and minimally invasive therapeutic procedure, the ministry said.
"Photodynamic therapy is dangerous not only for cancerous cells but also normal cells. However, the nanobot can effectively select the cancer tissue, which will give less side effects for patients," Park said.
The research was funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The findings were published in the journal "NANO letters."