Researchers at the University of Rome Tor Vergata and the University of Montreal are on the verge of revolutionizing the way medicine is delivered into the body and onto very specific and very precise locations in it. They have designed a nanoscopic molecular slingshot out of DNA measuring 1/20,000th of a human hair. It will be activated by infection specific elements, therefore making it completely programmable.

The synthetic DNA that this slingshot is made of does practically the same function as the rubber band at the end of a real life slingshot. The endings of this “rubber band” can attach themselves to an antibody that would released by the human metabolism in response any given bacteria or virus. The loaded drug would then be able to piggyback on that antibody until it reaches its target and eventually release when recognizing the completion of the antibody’s journey.

According to Francesco Ricci, an Associate professor of Chemistry at Rome Tor Vergata, the most impressive part of the molecular slingshot is that it can be triggered by any specific antibody that it was programmed to accompany. Meaning that it will adapt and become usable with any disease specific antibody that a given scientist would program it for, which would make it a weapon of considerable strength and precision for any disease treatment.

The other prominent feature of the slingshot is its ability to target microscopic areas which can be as specific as needed. This can give the delivery of drugs a whole new set of benefits such as enhancing their effect by loading their entire potential onto the affected area and drastically decreasing harmful side effects since the active substances in a given drug will not be approaching irrelevant parts of the body therefore making a drug’s effect highly predictable and controllable

The molecular slingshot will soon be entering in vitro cell testing before being applied to mice.