Cancer is when the body’s cells grow abnormally and spread throughout the body. Cancer cells invade surrounding tissue and form solid tumors. Most of the cancer treatments involve killing the cancer cells.
Proteins play role in every biological process and use the energy produced in the body to alter their structure through mechanical movements. Even minor structural alterations in proteins impact substantially on biological processes. Therefore, they are called biological “nanomachines.”
Researchers have focused on the development of a special kind of nanomachines. These nanomachines imitate proteins. Their purpose is to implement movement in the cellular environment.
However, to defend themselves against the effect of these nanomachines, cells use different mechanisms. Due to this, any relevant mechanical movement of nanomachines that could be used for medical purposes is restricted.
Dr. Youngdo Jeong, who belongs to the Center for Advanced Biomolecular Recognition at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology headed a research team, which has reported the development of a new biochemical nanomachine. The amazing fact about this nanomachine is that it penetrates the cell membrane and kills the cell through the molecular movements of folding and unfolding in certain cellular environments like cancer cells.
They worked in collaboration with the teams of the following:
1. Prof. Sang Kyu Kwak belonging to the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering
2. Prof. Ja-Hyoung Ryu belonging to the Department of Chemistry, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology.
3. Dr. Chaekyu Kim of Fusion Biotechnology, Inc.
This joint research team aimed at the hierarchical structure of proteins. In proteins, the axis of the large structure and the mobile units are separated, hierarchically. Therefore, only some specific parts can move around the axis.
The mobile components and axis of the large structure are present on the same layer in the majority of existing nanomachines.
The desired control of specific parts is complicated by the simultaneous movement of these components.
A hierarchical nanomachine was fabricated which was compromised of mobile organic molecules and inorganic nanoparticles. This novel method is used to kill the cancer cells directly without anticancer medication