A DNA, Cancer Fighting, Trojan Horse is on the medical horizon to kill drug-resistant Leukemia cells.
The ancient Greek tale of the Trojan Horse, is about hiding a select force of men in a wooden trojan horse as a subterfuge to enter the city of Troy and win the city. So too is the the DNA Trojan Horse that slips into battle against drug resistance in acute myeloid leukemia (ANL) cancer cells.
It’s a tough go to direct cancer-killing drugs to exactly to the cancer cells. To overcome this issue, the researchers had to conjure up a way to smuggle it in without the cell noticing. Scientists from Ohio State University thought that an incredibly small structure might be able to successfully conceal the drug and insert it to the cancer-laden cells.and so they turned to DNA
That structure turned to be DNA . They manipulated strands of viral DNA into an origami structure with complex folds (which can be created in just 10 minutes) which could hide the drug. As crazy as it sounds, these origami DNA structures are only 100 nanometers across – that’s 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
Small volumes of the cancer killing medicine , daunorubicin, can be wrapped up in these minuscule DNA pods, which can then be released into a leukemia cell-filled environment.embeded in the body” and get the “drug resistant” cells to accept them. When molecules of this drug enter an AML cell, they quickly respond and pump it back out through small openings in their cell walls.
White blood cells, including the types involved in AML, are roughly 20 times smaller than the width of a human hair. This may seem small, but this is equivalent to 100 DNA origami structures. It is this huge size difference that makes them the ideal Trojan horse for smuggling in chemotherapy drugs.
These strong, stable, rod-shaped capsules were seen to infiltrate the AML cells, retrieved from their surroundings as if they were nutrients. When a capsule is sufficiently deep inside the cell, it begins to break down, and the anti-cancer drugs are released. The AML cell can’t react in time to pump the drug back out, and it promtly dies.
At present, these origami capsules could potentially be absorbed by non-threatening cells. “Potentially, we can also tailor these structures to make them deliver drugs selectively to cancer cells and not to other parts of the body where they can cause side effects,” said study co author John Byrd, a professor of internal medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, in a statement
This new technique, while still at the proof-of-concept stage, is another addition to the growing collection of nanoscale chemotherapy treatments.