Monday, February 20, 2012


Like OMG! DNA Robots!

The title above (and image) is what the press release title would have you believe. The reality is still pretty cool - the lab created structures composed of DNA and engineered to move in the presence of certain compounds, so that the structures opened when they contacted leukemia cells; then they can deliver therapeutic chemicals to kill those cells.

This is a good innovation that has potential but right now it's barely proof of concept, because "killing cancer cells" does not at all equate to "curing cancer". (That particular inequality is why we have drug development professionals.) The problem here is not in a lab that's doing cutting edge work, it's in (presumably) the university's press office, and the outlets that distribute their breathless releases. The press has to learn to stop swallowing releases undigested, whether they're from Harvard or much more entertaining ones that explain the whole universe - or we have to learn to stop wasting our time on those particular press outlets.

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