Soon, a real-life Fantastic Voyage submarine to blast cancer inside body

January 16th, 2009 - 11:58 am ICT by ANI  

Washington, January 16 (ANI): A real-life version of the “mini-submarine” injected into a scientist in the 1966 Hollywood movie Fantastic Voyage to repair a blood clot in his brain may soon be available for fixing faulty cells in the body, thanks to new research by Tel Aviv University scientists.
The researchers, whose idea is to decorate a nanoparticle with targeting agents that guide it to a specific cell type and leave healthy cells untouched, reckon that a tiny medical vehicle may see the light of the day in about three years.
Dr. Dan Peer, who originally developed the scenario at Harvard University, not leads the Tel Aviv University team at the Department of Cell Research and Immunology.
His team has plans to build and test-run the actual machine in human bodies.
Publishing the blueprints for the submarine and a map of its proposed maiden voyage in the journal Science earlier this year, the researchers revealed that the nano-sized structure will be made from biological materials, and it will be big enough to deliver effective drugs to kill cancer cells and eradicate faulty proteins.
Our lab is creating biological nano-machines. These machines can target specific cells. In fact, we can target any protein that might be causing disease or disorder in the human body. This new invention treats the source, not the symptoms, says Dr. Peer.
The researchers have already tested the devices ability to target immune cells in the guts of mice with ulcerative colitis.
Dr. Peer says that the nano-sized submarine operates like a GPS system to locate and target cells.
According to him, it can target overactive immune system cells in the gut in the case of Crohns disease, as well as deliver drugs to specific cancer cells, leaving the surrounding healthy cells intact.
The Tel Aviv University lab is trying to make its medical submarine effective enough to deal with different pathologies like cancer, inflammation, and neurodegenerative diseases.
The researchers plan to launch their medical submarines, following FDA regulations, within three to five years. Their immediate focus is on blood, pancreatic, breast and brain cancers. (ANI)

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