Molecular Electronics Commercializer Next Target is Molecular Robots for Cellular Surgery

The 2021 Foresight review of Molecular machines has another contribution from Dr. James Tour.

James Tour and Roswell Biotechnologies just commercially released a molecular electronics chip. They attached molecules onto attachments at billions of points on a semiconductor chip. This speeds up DNA, RNA and protein reading by thousands of times and will scale to billions of times faster.

Professor James Tour of Rice University presents a novel molecular robot that was developed thanks to crucial experimental work with Robert Pal of Durham University that targets a specific cell, and then drills into and through the cell wall causing the cell guts to spill out. Preliminary targets are either a cancerous cell or an antibioticresistant bacterial cell. The mechanism is rapid cell death via mechanical tearing, not a chemical mechanism, that is highly resistant to both cancer mutations and also antibiotic-resistant bacteria mutations. Neighboring cells are left unaffected.

He has detailed molecular plans to create molecular drill robots to kill cancer cells and microbes and viruses.

While this technology is available in vitro now, Professor James Tour expects this technology to be clinically proven and also available to no-option end-of-life patients within 1-5 years, with full approval available in 5-15 years.

• Clinical proof, translation, and no-option patient use is achievable in 1-5 years
• We need the world to open back up after COVID and hire synthetic chemists
• Should investigate suitable scale-up operations for synthesis
• Figure out how to select a specific target molecular motor

This was part of zoom call conference on molecular machines.

The lecture notes for James Tour’s molecular robot are here.

The Molecular Nanomachine Drill operates with some similar principles to the nanocar [nanocar was already created many years ago in the lab]. The differences are the use of cell targeting and targeted cell adherence. The drill utilizes a similar light activation power source as the car to spin the rotor.

These holes depicted are open for at least one minute. The holes are big enough and last long enough that the inner machinery of the target cell will spill out of the cell, causing a necrotic death. The cells do not die of apoptosis via a chemical method, they die of a physical mechanical action and immediate necrosis.

The Fluorophore is what adheres to the cell wall. The targeting method and the adherence method can be adjusted. If the drill is not adhered to the cell wall before activating the light, the drill will simply spin free and not drill into a cell.

The light activation energizes the freely rotating double bond between the stator and rotor. The molecular drill now has the enduring power while the light is on to be able to drill into the cell wall. If the drill is adhered but the double bond is not energized with light, the rotor can swing and spin around via the weak molecular forces present between the cell wall and the stator, but the rotor will not have the energy needed to drill into the cell.

Individual cells can be targeted and killed by the Molecular Nano Drill Robot, leaving a direct neighbor cell unaffected. This is a 3D schematic showing the x and z planes above the glass cover slip, and also the top-down x and y plane view of the two cells. The PC3-targeted fast motor version robot #4 was able to target, adhere, and mechanically drill into the target cell when activation was performed with 2 photons at 710 nm wavelength near infrared. The direct neighbor cell contacting the target cell was left unaffected.

SOURCES- Foresight, James Tour
Written By Brian Wang,

20 thoughts on “Molecular Electronics Commercializer Next Target is Molecular Robots for Cellular Surgery”

  1. Yes, the focus on Island 3 example is a long known problem, at least by me. But I would go even more primitive, and say that "No" is a general answer, not just an answer about habitats. Hawking and Aldrin do(did) not have a clue. It is a huge issue. NSS is doing a lot on Space Solar, but they will not list Criswell LSP, are captured by Mankins. Earth to Earth power beaming is the big thing now. Energy production, mining, agriculture, heavy industry, eventually most Earth use is better done in Space than on Earth, also, more strongly, therefore: NOT ON MARS OR THE MOON!!!!

    The best thing I see right now is the ISS micr0g experiments. Pure O'Neill, except the Mars trip physiology ones. Very exciting, leads directly to ISMRU.

  2. Not the expert, but I've read that this sort of thing can go thru bone. It may need multiple weak beams aimed at a point or some such thing.

  3. "..but the answer to the question is highly counter intuitive."

    Are you referring to the counter-intuitive idea that in micro-g you can build a cylindrical frame that is several miles in size using the mass of steel found in a skyscraper for a pressure vessel to house a whole cityscape and that it wouldn't collapse under its own weight like if it was built on Earth instead?

    If so, then over the years NSS and other advocates have done a poor job of informing the physical intuitions of lay people (politicians, journalists,etc.) born in 1g. Because the sheer scale depicted in artworks of O'Neil cylinders cemented the notion that the concept was too sci-fi and expensive (needing 22nd century nanotech, etc.) and not one requiring just an Apollo style engineering program (next-gen shuttles, lunar bases, etc.).

  4. Hoping by 2030 that Helion and LockMart get to net energy gain with their machines, but we'll see. I actually was looking to get into a solid state physics program given that the field overlaps with areas in nanotechnology (mechanosynthesis?) and biophysics (DNA assemblers?) or so i thought back then.

  5. I haven't been following the field as closely as before, but I expect the supramolecular chemistry folks to continue to do interesting things.

  6. When I went into physics in the 80s people were thinking fusion energy would be a done deal by 2000. Many careers initially aimed at plasma physics had to be diverted to less exciting solid state physics.

  7. Does the need for light preclude this as a solution for brain and bone cancer or cancers buried deep in the body?

  8. Well, the question points out the problem. Most non physics people see the example of the O'Neill settlement and think that is what O'Neill is talking about. He is asking a question, and micr0g is a big part of the answer. So is getting materials. And energy. His Space Solar ideas are more to the topic you bring up, " to end material scarcity". Now, Drexler was O'Neill's first hire, so they know of each other! But I would read O'Neill with the notion that he limits himself to 80's tech, including a very over promised Shuttle. O'Neill is simple Physics, but the answer to the question is highly counter intuitive. His plan absorbs the best tech of the time when it is time. It is time.

  9. Does the NASA Space Settlement Summer study count? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Drexler was inspired by O'Neill's vision. It seems physics people and their student followers tend to be a deluded set.

  10. Still no sign of the Star Trek replicator. 🙁
    Don't laugh or cry , but the hype of the Drexlerian vision of molecular machines in the late 90s caused me to waste time on a physics degree. Thinking as a deluded teen that I could get a PhD with just hard work and end up in some US lab developing the first practical desktop nano-assembler to end material scarcity. It never worked out that way as you can imagine and I was stuck with a semi-useless piece of paper. Word of advice to readers still in high school – don't follow your passion unless you are born with a silver spoon and the natural ability to succeed.

  11. Is there any reason to think that this would be more dangerous than existing pharmaceutical approaches? No?
    Is there any sane person who thinks that pharmaceuticals are worse than just letting diseases run wild? Also no.
    So what are you on about?

  12. Speaking as somebody who's been through surgery and chemo for cancer, the current standard for cancer treatment does a real job on you. A lot could go wrong with this treatment, and it could still be better than being carved up then systematically poisoned for months.

  13. "He has detailed molecular plans to create molecular drill robots to kill cancer cells and microbes and viruses.". This tech in combo with the sensing using individual molly queues leads to many apps where micr0g will be needed, many where it will be prohibitively better than 1 g, many where it will be more economical in micr0g. Having things float around that are of different densities alone should make a difference. Being able to heat and cool without convection, another biggie. Growing delicate biomols, what can I say?

  14. Cool, with this technology, we should be able to get a genetic or protein signature of a tumor (with a biopsy and a lab analysis) or any germ, then produce a custom made vaccine targeting the tumor cells or the virus in a few hours.

    Also, it could make possible to create ultra specific poisons with unusual cruelty, but you can't have advances like this without some ugly possiblities as well.

    Also it would require an aquous solution for administration (these are biomolecules after all), therefore it would come as a shot, so no super-pandemic of rogue nanoreplicators. Just nanomachines targeting something with chirurgical precision.

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