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Israeli scientists successfully treat cancer tumor using ‘nano-factory’ tech

Israeli scientists successfully treat cancer tumor using 'nano-factory' tech
Photo by CSIRO / CC BY SA 3.0
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Scientists at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have ingeniously devised a way to sneak synthetic cells right into tumor tissue. The Israeli scientists successfully developed artificial cells or “nano-factories” that produce proteins from within the tissue, thereby battling cancer tumors.

Details of the technique — tested in both lab cell cultures and in mice and found effective in both cases – were published in the medical magazine “Advanced Healthcare Materials.” It is another breakthrough discovery from Technion, a public research university in Haifa, Israel.

Combining synthetic biology to artificially produce proteins and targeted drug delivery, to direct the synthetic cell to abnormal tissues, is a significant step forward in the personalized medicine trend. Assistant Professor Avi Schroeder, who co-led the research with doctoral student Nitzan Krinsky, said that the particles developed can produce a variety of protein medicines, NoCamels reported.

The scientists-researchers said monitoring of the activity of the particles were made in real-time using a fluorescence microscope. They integrated molecular machines within lipid-based particles.

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Interestingly, Technion described synthetic cells as artificial systems with capacities resembling natural cells. The scientists engineered the particles such that when they “sense” the biological tissue, they are activated and produce therapeutic proteins, dictated by an integrated synthetic DNA template.

As people advance in years or develop compromised immune systems, cancer rates go up. Important and promising cancer-related research, emanating from research universities like Technion, signifies inroads in battling the disease.

In the past, treatments tailored according to the patient’s genetic characteristics have not always presented an accurate prediction of which medicine will be best for each patient, as Professor Schroeder himself noted. Modern technology that complements this field opens a new window into underlying insights about the mechanisms of cancer.

Synthetic biology is touted among the emerging tech trends, taking its rightful place high up on a list that includes genomics, autonomous vehicles, augmented reality and drones, as a Harvard University Senior Fellow tweeted. Institutes and healthcare experts partnering to make synthetic biology research produce outcomes that are safe, responsible and good for the world have set the stage for something big.

Indeed, synthetic biology is set to revolutionize science, and people need only to turn to recent developments that can be seen on social media to marvel at how far today’s scientists have gone to help people beat the odds against seemingly insurmountable disease. Israel’s development of a synthetic cell that produces anti-cancer proteins within the tumor tissue points to future treatments that can be adjusted to the specific genetic and medical profiles of patients.

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About the author

Judy Cordova

Judy is a UP Journalism graduate. Her writing stints include work for the Office of the Press Secretary-Malacanan, St. Luke's Medical Center, BusinessWorld, ABC-5, and International Business Times Australia. She loves writing about science & tech, movies, business, and other topics under the sun. Aside from the fact that she has loads of awesomeness, she also believes that "if there's a will, there's a way," with God's help. Address: Manila, NCR || Email: cordova.judy@gmail.com

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