An alternative to the use of chemical antibiotics for combating disease is being advanced by an international The nanodrills damaged cells and tissues in (a) worms, (b) plankton and (c) mice. Source: Richard S. Gunasekera et al.The nanodrills damaged cells and tissues in (a) worms, (b) plankton and (c) mice. Source: Richard S. Gunasekera et al.research team. The mechanical solution uses minuscule light-activated motors to penetrate and kill target cells.

These nanodrills penetrate cell walls by spinning up to 3 million times per second and have been previously demonstrated to destroy cancer cells and disrupt bacterial cell wells in vitro. Research published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces confirms the efficacy of the light-activated molecular nanomachines in deactivating specific tissues in vivo in multi-cellular organisms.

The nanodrills caused the skin of nematode worms to lose pigment, killing about 70% in a few days. A majority of plankton exposed to the molecular motors lost exterior limbs and also died. A topical solution applied to mouse skin resulted in lesions and ulcerations, indicating potential use of treating human skin diseases such as melanomas and eczema.

Researchers from Rice University, Texas A&M Health Science Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Biola University and Durham University (U.K.) contributed to this study.

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