Genomes of living organism like that of humans can be edited with the technique of CRISPR. Things that could only be imagines earlier can be made possible with this technique, such as reversing congenital conditions or killing off viruses. CRISPR has now found another application in which it equips materials to change their properties when nearby there are specific DNA sequences.
The research behind this technology was done by a team of scientists from MIT and Harvard who also developed multiple types of devices using the technology. These include an electronic circuit that reacts to DNA cues, a microfluidic device with a DNA sensor that activates a valve to open and close and also gels that release drugs. The idea is to deliver therapies, perform diagnostics, and many impossible tasks up till now; by the interaction between human body and a whole set of new smart materials.
With the help of proteins known as Cas enzymes, DNA can be cut by scientists in specific locations by using CRISPR. A single- stranded DNA was used by the scientists in this new research as a structural component or a control mechanism. This gave smart biological functionality to whatever material it is in.
They developed a polyethylene glycol gel containing DNA bound to encapsulated drug. Acrylamide gel with the DNA was also created by the team. An electronic circuit with another gel was also created by the team with idea of advancing the technique where the result was conductive when the DNA strands within it are intact. One of the next things the team is working on is to find a way to use the technology to deliver engineered bacteria to help treat conditions that are gastrointestinal.
Gaurang Taylor is an MD/MBA candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Harvard Business School. He contributes regularly to CardioSource World News and Emergency Physicians Monthly. He is interested in developing scalable, tech-based solutions for medicine and education. He loves to share his knowledge and recent trends in the Healthcare Department by posting various articles. He has experience in medical device pathways and is passionate about understanding the human body.