Disease-Fighting "Nanorobots" Developed by UF Scientists
GAINESVILLE - It sounds like a video game.
A robot that grabs its enemies and destroys them in its embrace.
But the bad guys here are diseases, and the robot is a microscopic particle created by University of Florida scientists.
UF researchers say the "nanorobot" is a tiny particle -- small enough that tens of thousands of them can fit on the head of a pin.
But the small robot has a huge task at the cellular level -- grabbing diseased cells and then destroying them.
The robots are programmed to not only destroy diseased cells, but to also leave healthy ones alone.
The UF team, led by chemistry professor Charles Cao and pathology professor Dr. Chen Liu, say they have spent three years and half a million dollars testing the nanorobots's effects on the hepatitus C virus.
In labrotary tests, the nanorobots "all but eradicated" the hepatitus C infection, according to the researchers.
While the nanorobots has only been tested against the hepatitus C virus, the scientists say they believe it will be useful in fighting other diseases and viral infections, such as cancer.
"Cancer therapy probably is more challenging," said Liu. "However, with more understanding about how cancer cells work, I think this technology certainly will be another alternative added to the current approach to cancer therapy."
Liu and Cao say the next step is to see if the technology will be safe and effective for humans to use.
It will be at least five to 10 years before the technology can become available for clinical use.
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