Team:UCSF/Future Applications


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VISION: Example of a possible application

In the previous sections we have shown you that we can steer cells to new targets, control their speed and attach a payload. Here we describe our vision of what we could do with these engineered cells in the future.

One target for our cells could be carcinoid tumors:

  • these tumors are located in the gut and lungs and are often malignant
  • they are small and therefore hard to find
  • they secrete high levels of serotonin - a neuroactive hormone detected by Gi-coupled GPCR

Our approach could be used to engineer a cellular robot that:

  • detects serotonin and can chemotax to carcinoid tumors
  • delivers imaging reagents (to aid in surgical removal)


  • delivers targeted chemotherapeutic drugs to kill tumor

VISION: We could use our engineered cellular robots to home in on carcinoid tumors to deliver imaging or therapeutic reagents.

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