DNA computer that may boost controlled drug delivery

To determine whether someone has a particular disease, it is essential to measure the concentration of specific antibodies.

Published: 18th February 2017 11:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th February 2017 11:40 AM   |  A+A-

For representational purpose (File | AP)


LONDON: In a first, researchers have developed a novel DNA computer that is capable of detecting several antibodies in the blood, that may allow better control of the medication for diseases like rheumatism and Crohn's.

"What is special about this system is that it can think and that it can be connected to actuation such as drug delivery," said Maarten Merkx, professor at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in The Netherlands.

To determine whether someone has a particular disease, it is essential to measure the concentration of specific antibodies -- the agents that our immune system produces when we are ill. 

The new method will translate the presence of each antibody into a unique piece of DNA whereby the DNA computer can decide on the basis of the presence of one or more antibodies whether drug delivery, for example, is necessary. 

"The presence of a particular DNA molecule sets in motion a series of reactions whereby we can get the DNA computer to run various programs," explained Wouter Engelen, doctoral student at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

"Our results show that we can use the DNA computer to control the activity of enzymes, but we think it should also be possible to control the activity of a therapeutic antibody," Engelen added.

In addition, the system can measure the quantity of therapeutic antibodies in the blood and decide whether it is necessary to administer any extra medication used in treating chronic diseases like rheumatism or Crohn's disease.

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