Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Engineer Algae to Specifically Kill Cancer Cells

November 25, 2015
Scientists from the University of South Australia and partners genetically engineered an algae to specifically destroy cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. The results are published in Nature Communications.

Scientists Nico Voelcker and colleagues worked on a diatom to produce antibody-binding protein on the surface of their shells. Then, the antibody attaches to molecules in cancer cells to deliver drugs to target cells. "By genetically engineering diatom algae - tiny, unicellular, photosynthesizing algae with a skeleton made of nanoporous silica, we are able to produce an antibody-binding protein on the surface of their shells. Anti-cancer chemotherapeutic drugs are often toxic to normal tissues," Voelcker explains.

The study suggests that GE biosilica frustules may function as delivery systems of poorly water-soluble anticancer drugs to tumour sites.

Read more at Nature Communications and IBTimes.