Tiny Little Sperm Harnesses Are The Cutest Thing Ever.
Okay, so seriously, imagine this.
In order to help cure cancer, researchers are working with microscopic 3D printers to make tiny little harnesses for sperm, like one little harness per sperm. (I presume one size fits all but I need to check.) And what do these sperm harness actually do? Well they help deliver the sperm, now soaked in cancer-curing chemicals, far into the nether-regions of women who need the medical treatment.
The sperm harnesses actually have tiny little micromotors – I’m telling you – this is crazy but true stuff.
It all started because, as you may well know, the vagina, cervix and uterus are considered a harsh environments for medicine. Apparently, this environment makes drug delivery difficult and gynecological cancers notoriously hard to treat. So after years of study (and who even thought of this in the first place) researchers believe the answer to this may lie in sperm. I can hear men all over the world rejoice, high five each other and celebrate their contribution to cancer research.
Be that as it may gentlemen, this study isn’t just the latest debate in the war of the sexes – it’s actually an incredible breakthrough. Scientists at the Institute of Nanosciences in Germany realised that while the natural chemistry of our lady parts tends to dilute most forms of treatment before they can reach the site of the cancer, the human male naturally produces something which thrives in this environment.
This promising study suggests that sperm may be the future of gynecological cancer treatment. A welcome development in an area where an estimated 275,000 women die every year from cervical cancer, 287,000 from uterine cancer and 140,000 from ovarian cancer.
Just because you have access to a 3D printer doesn’t mean you can make a sperm harness. Trust me. I know.
Mariana Medina-Sánchez and her team in Germany led a study looking into the unique drug delivery benefits human sperm could provide. They found that when sperm is submerged in an active ingredient known to treat cancer, it absorbs large doses.
The sperm can then be assembled into microscopic, 3D printed, mechanical harnesses, forming sperm-hybrid micromotors (trying saying that 10 times fast) In something out of a science fiction movie – the sperm is then directed towards the tumor through the use of external magnetic fields.
How fast can a sperm powered by a micromtor and an external magnetic field actually go? I have no idea.
Once the sperm reaches its destination the harnesses relinquish their grip and the sperm is free to swim towards its target. In theory, the sperm can then burrow deeper into the cancerous tissue and expose more cells to the treatment than ever before.
During experimentation the team noticed that the sperm-hybrid micromotor reduced cancerous cells by 87% in just 72 hours.
The sperm were found to not only protect the drug against dilution, but also not to trigger the immune system. Triggering of the immune system has been a challenge in previous studies where, for example, treatment was delivered using bacteria.
Further studies are needed to perfect this method of treatment – no gentlemen, at this point, no further volunteers are currently needed to assist. But, the preliminary results hint at a better future – one where you will be more equipped to fight gynecological cancer and perhaps other diseases as well (watch the below video for more details).
If you are interested in reading more about this amazing technology, click here for Mariana Medina-Sánchez’s study.
I still want to know who was first sitting around the lab and said, hey I know what we can do, let’s get some sperm, a tiny microscopic 3D printer and then we will make harnesses for micromotors.
That person? They are a genius.