i've got the cure for you


Sperm-Powered Nanobots
June 14, 2008, 7:29 am
Filed under: i don't know where to put this | Tags: , ,

“The next wave in health care may include a brigade of medical nanobots, devices tiny enough to ride the flow of blood through the body’s arteries to a problem area. The bots might arrive at a clot, for example, nd then, using an internal power system, obliterate the clot with a precisely targeted drug or therapy. The same molecular power pacs that fuel sperm in their journey through the uterus and to a fallopian tube might be copied and used to keep the nanomachines running once they reach their targets.

Led by reproductive biologist Alex Travis, the engineering effort focuses on a chain of enzymes that metabolize glucose molecules into the biological fuel ATP, which enables sperm locomotion. Ordinarily the ATP provides sperm with enough energy to bend and flex their tails as they swim to the unfertilized egg. Travis’ plan is to copy the design of the sperm’s engine by slightly modifying a 10-enzyme glycolysis chain embedded in the sperm’s tail and then to install it in nanobots.

Using mouse sperm, Travis has thus far modified the first two enzymes on the chain so that they can bind to nickel ions attached to the surface of a tiny gold chip, which serves as a stand-in for a future nanobot. Now he needs to tweak the remaining enzymes so they can be attached too. If the spermlike moto works, it could someday use the body’s own energy source -glucose- to do such things as run super-tiny medical devices designed to release anti-cancer drugs or trigger the breakup of potentially deadly clots. ”

By Patrick Huyghe