Smart Pills May Soon Be Responding To The Needs Of Individual Cells



Colton Hveem

The University of Chicago has managed to program a mechanism into DNA strands so that signals are sent out in response to certain conditions. This means that whenever something goes awry within a cell, the event will trigger like a switch that sends out a notification that an issue has occurred. With this technology, pills are being developed to respond to these signals, and attend to the needs of individual cells.

There may soon be “programmable smart pills that tailor medical treatments in response to signals from individual cells,” Futurism reports. This technology is possible due to how “researchers from the University of Chicago figured out a way to trick strands of DNA into behaving like switches — a development in a field known as molecular computation.”

While bionic advancements are occurring on the macro level, so too are advancements being made on the micro level. Tiny mechanical alterations to cellular biology could advance quality of life dramatically, and provides ample room for growth in application.

However, tinkering with complex molecular gears formed over billions of years of organic engineering is not so simple. Any tiny adjustment, or gear added to these molecular clocks, could produce an untold quantity of effects to the overall output of cells. DNA is billions of units long, and genes interact with one another to produce complex products. The potential improvement of the human design may be exciting. Yet the potential for error is large, and likely at times not so immediately transparent. 

Tagged:  Medicine Bionics Cyborg

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