Specially designed, artificial molecular machines that target pathogens or tumour cells may lead to new focus in disease therapy
Apta Biosciences has been awarded an H2020 grant from the European Union in collaboration with the Austrian Institute of Technology (Vienna, Austria), Imperial College (London, UK), Aarhus University (Aarhus, Denmark) and Albert-Ludwigs University (Freiburg, Germany) to develop antibiotic replacements for infectious diseases using its Seligo technology.
The overall grant is worth €3m and Apta will receive €940,000. The programme, called MARA, combines three novel technologies to create a DNA-based molecular toolkit to characterise pathogens.
First, pathogen-associated antigens are detection using AUDENA (Autonomous Detection Nucleic Acids). Second, a novel protein mimicry approach is used to create artificial enzymes and, third, a molecular drill is developed that can specifically identify target cells and destroy them.
This Molecular Robot (MORO) will be made of self-assembling DNA. The MORO will be used to lyse bacterial cells to release intracellular antibiotic resistance-associated antigens.
Using specially designed, artificial molecular machines to targeted pathogens or tumour cells may well lead to a paradigm shift in our approach to disease therapy and open up a whole new area of molecular medicine.