About the Project
The Project:
For this year’s BIOMOD 2014, we have developed and built on our previous walker-tile model to create what is essentially a targeted drug delivery project. Our project is a boron-loaded gold nanoparticle that is functionalized by our walkers that would be used in boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. In a nutshell, we start with a gold nanoparticle and layer it with boron-containing compounds. Concurrently, we use our walker-tile system – a DNA origami functionalization system which creates multifunctional DNA particles – to generate batches of DNA Walkers. They are functionalized with a cancer-targeting agent, quantum dots (QDs), and polyethylene glycol (PEG). We have the DNA Walkers auto-assemble onto the boron-layered gold nanoparticle to produce our final product.
The Application:
In theory, this particle will be injected into cancerous tumor regions. Polyethylene glycol will shield our particle from immunological responses by making it appear like water. The cancer-targeting agent will enter the cell upon binding a receptor along its surface. Quantum dots fluoresce through the body, which allow us to target the cancerous cells with a neutron beam. The ensuing reaction with boron then releases enough energy to kill only the target cell. This process has distinct advantages over chemotherapy in that it only targets harmful cells.
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