Sperm May One Day Cure Some Cancers - Geek.com

Sperm is creepy. It’s wiggly, and there’s usually millions of them and unless they’re… y’know, going after an egg, sperm are useless. That was until some German scientists came up with a system to deliver medication using the tiny swimmers.

An emerging body of biomedical engineering is focused on creative ways to fight cancer. Some have thought to modify red blood cells, others are using viruses, but this team was focused on treating cancers in the female reproductive tract. The thinking was that if we’ve already taken to modifying other cells to deliver treatments, why not look for something that’s tailor-made for the job. So, they attached metal helmets to individual sperms. These are steered with magnets, and the sperm just push forward until they hit something. If the contraption attached to a cancer cell, the sperm will push through and deliver the medication — killing the cancerous cell.

The team has been able to guide the little fellas through tracks and even demonstrated delivery of chemotherapy treatments to active cancer. Two days later, the drug went to work.

There’s still a lot of work to be done on the treatment, and it’s worth noting that all of this happened in controlled lab conditions. Getting the magnetic guidance system to work in a person will surely be a challenge. Not to mention that the sperms’ added gear slowed them down quite a bit, and they just had to scoot across a slide. Plus, if you’re treating cancer in the reproductive tract with sperm, you’re also going to have to take some precautions to avoid issues like pregnancy. Aaaaand then there’s a lot of rules about using human genetic material like this. Ethics boards would need quite a few reassurances before greenlighting clinical trials.

Despite all that, this is definitely some Cool Science™.

Sperm May One Day Cure Some Cancers – Geek.com


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