Hijacked sperm carry chemo drugs to cervical cancer cells
Science & Tech / /
There’s a whole new purpose for sperm – sperm-driven micromotor can be used as a targeted drug delivery system, which can potentially treat diseases in the female reproductive tract.
As known, chemotherapy affects cancer cells as well as normal cells, causing symptoms like nausea, at the same time limiting the dose a person can receive due to its toxicity. But all of this could be avoid if chemotherapy drugs specifically targeted cancer cells.
Haifeng Xu at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research in Germany and his team are using sperm cells in order to experimentally take drugs to cancers in the female reproductive tract. When sperm cells loaded with doxorubicin, which is a common chemo agent, and released in a dish containing mini cervical cancer tumours, it was noticed that the sperm swam towards the tumours, killing 87% affected cells within only three days.
The sperm release mechanism is designed to liberate the sperm when the biohybrid micromotor hits the tumor walls, allowing it to swim into the tumor and deliver the drug through the sperm–cancer cell membrane fusion. In our experiments, the sperm cells exhibited a high drug encapsulation capability and drug carrying stability, conveniently minimizing toxic side effects and unwanted drug accumulation in healthy tissues, was explained in the study.
As well as cancer, spermbots might be useful for treating other conditions affecting the female reproductive tract such as endometriosis or ectopic pregnancies, says Xu.
Source: New Scientist