More On Artificial Cells as Medical Tools

From earlier this month, a Nanowerk article goes into more detail on the proposed use of artificial cells and cell-like structures as medical devices: "Some fundamental problems like the targeting of nanoparticles in vivo, the transport of unstable drugs, and the dosage control of drug-carrying nanoparticles lead some scientists to think even one step further. Rather than delivering external drugs into the body, they conceptualize 'pseudo-cell' nanofactories that work with raw ingredients already in the body to manufacture the proper amount of drug in-situ under the control of a molecular biosensor. ... This approach draws its inspiration from the ability of the human body to self-medicate by actively adapting molecular production in response to its intrinsic biochemistry. This new approach proposes that molecular machinery could, in principle, be introduced into the body to convert pre-existing materials into therapeutic compounds, or to change molecules that a patient is unable to process, owing to some medical condition, into other compounds that the body can process. ... rather than reverse engineering an extremely complex system, generating an artificial cell provides a robust platform where researchers can add functionality in a component-by-component process. Furthermore, artificial approaches may be more controllable as living cells can respond in unanticipated ways."


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