A team of researchers have drawn inspiration from the Jellyfish to design a microchip coated with DNA tentacles, which can capture cancerous cells in the bloodstream and provide a new way of combatting this disease in patients.
Designed by a team at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, this microchip is inspired by the Jellyfish's tentacles, which are used to capture tiny particles of food in the water. Imitating this process, the microfluidic chip uses a three-dimensional DNA network made up of long, tentacle-like strands with repetitive sequences that-like the jellyfish tentacles-can detect, bind and capture certain molecules.
"One of the greatest challenges in the treatment of cancer patients is to know which drug to prescribe," Team leader Jeffrey Karp, PhD, BWH Division of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Medicine commented. "By isolating circulating tumor cells before and after the first round of chemotherapy is given, we can determine the biology behind why certain cells are resistant to chemotherapy. We can also use the isolated cells to screen drugs for personalized treatments that could boost effectiveness and hopefully prevent cancer relapse."
While many are afraid or not too attached to our gelatinous friends of the ocean, with success in this project, we may owe them a great debt of gratitude.