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.

Opportunities
• 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, Nextbigfuture.com