Scientists have managed to use a smartphone to control what cells in an animal’s body can do.
In this peculiar milestone, the investigative scientists used a smartphone to level the blood sugar levels in a mice’s body. The mice had diabetes.
This is a kind of biology and technology fusion that the study experts are hopeful they will be able to use for many other diseases.
The study was done by Chinese scientists who believe that it could be the new era for disease treatment.
How the study was done
To conduct the research, the scientists began by transforming normal cells into living factories.
These living factories were genetically modified so that they could manufacture drugs necessary for controlling blood sugar levels including insulin – but only after exposure to light.
The technology has been dubbed optogenetics and the cells are activated only when given wavelengths of red light is passed through.
The technology aspect of it comes in when wireless powered LEDs are linked to a controlling smartphone app.
East China Normal University researchers were able to implant the system in to mice and then tapped the touchscreen to control diabetes. The university is found in Shanghai.
The team of researchers said that once the tech is fully developed, it could be used for more personal, digitalized and global-based medication.
All that is required is to use a tiny blood drop to know the levels of sugar in a patient’s blood and then use this information to determine the amount of drug to administer.
The final goal is a combination of a fully automated system that detects sugar levels and then releases therapeutic chemicals in right measures.
This idea is by far still in its early stages and is not just limited to diabetes. The cells can be engineered so as to manufacture a variety of drugs.
This is an exciting accomplishment and Prof Mark Gomelsky, a molecular biologist from the University of Wyoming recognizes that.
He envisions a day when people will be walking on the streets wearing fashionable LED wristbands linked to the treatment of diseases at the click of a smartphone.
He says that is yet to come but offers an exciting glimpse of what the future of therapeutics looks like.