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Studies: Tuned sperm bring cancer drugs to the uterus

Studies: Tuned sperm bring cancer drugs to the uterus


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New method against abdominal cancer with sperm as drug delivery

Sperm may be the new active ingredient supplier for drug treatment of abdominal tumors. Scientists at the Technical University of Chemnitz are currently developing a new method in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, which may be suitable for the treatment of certain types of abdominal cancer. Sperm are said to deliver the active ingredient to the uterus.

The promising basic research offers a new approach to the treatment of cancer cells in the uterus or cervix. The research team led by Prof. Dr. In a laboratory experiment, Oliver Schmidt succeeded in using cattle sperm as delivery agents for drugs to fight cancer. The sperm treated with the active ingredient are equipped with a specially developed “nano motor” from the 3D printer and can thus be controlled directly to the cancer cells, where they release the active ingredient. The first results of the study were published on the science portal "ACS Nano".

Tuned sperm

At the heart of this research is a special manufacturing process for the production of nano-structures. A microtube with four arms developed in 3D nanolithography is produced by a 3D printer. The diameter of the so-called "tetrapod" is about the size of a tenth of human hair. The "tetrapod" is coated with iron and applied to a single sperm. The scientists were now able to use a magnetic field to control the manipulated sperm.

Use directly on site

The sperm was treated with the active ingredient “doxorubicin”, which was approved for the treatment of abdominal tumors. Then the scientists were able to direct it directly to the cancer cell, where the active ingredient was released, causing some of the cancer cells to die after a short time. But research is still in its infancy. The first attempts in petri dishes have already been successful. However, some sperm died after being treated with doxorubicin.

The future of "nanotechnology sperm"

Extensive experiments are now pending to check the efficiency and biocompatibility of the technology. The scientists then plan the first animal experiments. Test series on humans are still a long way off, according to the researchers.

Sperm are the better syringes

"As an active ingredient carrier, sperm have the great advantage that, due to their natural nature, they can remain in the uterus for a long time," explains Professor Schmidt. Sperm are able to transport large quantities of active substances, and their efficient and efficient self-propulsion and the ability to penetrate cell walls enable them to be injected directly into the cancer cell.

A new research complex is emerging

A new research building is currently being built on the campus of the Chemnitz University of Technology: Center for Materials, Architectures and Integration of Nanomembranes. Here the development of special micromotors and the use of flexible nanomembranes are to be intensified. (vb)

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