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New 'molecular computers' find the right cells

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New 'molecular computers' find the right cells

24 Aug 2020 by Ted Escobedo   2 min read

A laboratory breakthrough in cell targeting may improve the safety of cancer-killing CAR T cells

Scientists have demonstrated a new way to precisely target cells by distinguishing them from neighboring cells that look quite similar. Even cells that become cancerous may differ from their healthy neighbors in only a few subtle ways. A central challenge in the treatment of cancer and many other diseases is being able to spot the right cells while sparing all others.

In a paper published 20 August in Science, a team of researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle describe the design of new nanoscale devices made of synthetic proteins. These target a therapeutic agent only to cells with specific, predetermined combinations of cell surface markers.

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