South Korean scientists say it will soon be possible
to treat cancer with nanorobots as a more efficient, less harmful alternative
They have genetically modified non-toxic salmonella bacteria
to deliver microscopic capsules filled with drugs, directly to cancer tumors.
The bacteria are drawn to the tumors by the chemicals secreted by cancer cells.
Once the bacteria arrive, the capsules release their drugs, attacking the tumor
while leaving healthy cells alone.
Lead researcher Park Jong-oh from Chonnam
National University, says the system works on mouse tumors, and he's hopeful it
will work in humans too. At this stage, the bacteriorobot can detect only solid cancers where tumors form like breast or colorectal cancer.
But Park believes with a little more time, the bots will be capable of detecting and treating other types as well. And he says, the tiny robots could make cancer treatment easier on patients - eliminating the adverse side-effects of chemotherapy like nausea, hair loss and anemia.
The new technology has already been patented in the U.S, Japan and Europe, but has not yet been approved for use on humans