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Biological 'Logic Circuit' Destroys Cancer Cells 98

intellitech writes "Researchers led by ETH professor Yaakov Benenson and MIT professor Ron Weiss have successfully incorporated diagnostic biological information processing in human cells. In a study recently published in Science (abstract), they describe a multi-gene synthetic 'logic circuit' whose task is to distinguish between cancer and healthy cells, and subsequently target cancer cells for destruction. This circuit works by sampling and integrating five intracellular, cancer-specific molecular factors and their concentration. The circuit makes a positive identification only when all factors are present in the cell, resulting in highly precise cancer detection. Researchers hope it can serve a basis for very specific anti-cancer treatments."
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Biological 'Logic Circuit' Destroys Cancer Cells

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  • by robotkid ( 681905 ) <> on Friday September 02, 2011 @04:06PM (#37290636)

    Yes, it's more impressive than an "OR" gate (which could simply be two different mechanisms that trigger the same effect), but the word Logic circuit just doesn't do it for me.

    You really want to impress me, show me an "XOR" - either of two indications, but not both. []

    Looks like these undergrads still have some bugs to work out, but in principle such a thing should be eminently possible given that most genes already have tons of positive and negative regulators that can be easily co-opted and transplanted. The trick is making a robust system with enough dynamic range that you can easily read the output, but with enough finesse that it can dampen the noise as well as mother nature does it.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.