Biocomputer, the molecular doctor

Imagine a “biocomputer” inside your body monitoring what’s going on inside, identifying the unhealthy cells, and even releasing treatment dose. Thanks to researchers at Harvard and Princeton Universities, one day this may come true!!

BiocomputerScientists have devised a tiny “biocomputer”, which can one day be implanted in human cells to monitor their activities and characteristics. Composed of only genetic materials, these “molecular doctors” hold the promise of revolutionizing medicine by targeting only diseased cells or tissues, leaving healthy ones completely unaffected.

These “biocomputers” are designed to detect anything from the presence of a mutated gene to the activity of genes within the cell using Boolean logic. To create a “molecular computer” capable of making decisions is a big challenge in itself and getting them to work in human cells is likely to be even trickier.

Primary goal involves injecting human cells with DNA to determine if a cell is cancerous or otherwise diseased. If disease is detected, the DNA might trigger an accurate treatment dose in response. As of now, researchers are in the testing stage of turning DNA into versatile computers (published online at Nature Biotechnology very recently).

Cells have short interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules which recognize corresponding DNA sequences in genes, causing them to shut down. This system is based on the process RNA interference (RNAi).



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