Nanobots in Cancer treatment by Chanakya Prasad Valmiki


Imagine a world with no diseases, it would be an amazing place to live isn’t it? That is exactly the kind of world scientists are trying to build using nanobots.

..Nanobots are extremely small robots with a size ranging from 0.1- 10 micrometers that have several applications, some of which include, early detection of cancer cells, and identification and repairing of damaged cells.

This is a basic research paper that mainly addresses the origins of nanobots, their advantages, disadvantages, future, and the challenges scientists face in building them. This research is significant because it informs people about the novel tools that doctors and scientists anticipate to use in the next 10-15 years in the field of revolutionary medicine. The scope of this new technology is diverse, it can be applied to research for example, understanding how exactly the greatest muscle in the human body “the brain” functions and also its ability to cure some of the deadliest diseases.

Who invented Nanobots?

The origins of nanotechnology can be traced all the way back to physicist Richard Feynman’s speech in 1959, where he foresaw a future with technology that could store massive amounts of information. From then we have come a long way in the field of nanotechnology and are close to the ultimate goal of this field; to be able to essentially rebuild matter from the very building blocks of everything-atoms. Over the past decade scientists have used bacteria as a reference to build nanobots since they are also very small creatures and from there we have made considerable progress.

Adriano Cavalcanti invented Nanobots for use with medical technology.

Ido Bachelet, PhD., a former Wyss Postdoctoral fellow now working in Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and Shawn Douglas, Ph.D., a Wyss Technology Development Fellow, created a Nano sized robot in the form of an open barrel whose two halves are connected by a hinge.

Nanobots Uses and Applications:

Nanobots are used in the medical field primarily by doctors to diagnose and treat life threatening diseases. They are specifically used by oncologists for cancer detection and therapy. Nanobots, if allowed to run scans of a human body from inside, will be able to detect early signs of cancerous cells developing in human bodies quite easily.

In addition, they can be inserted into the body and have the potential of fighting off cancerous cells in the patient. Currently, there are many forms of treatment for cancer, however, unlike nanobots many if not all of these, (Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy, Surgery) are not very precise or, are invasive leading to unintended side consequences such as destroying healthy cells, causing the immune system to collapse on itself.

Nanobots have multitudes of other uses besides helping oncologists. Nanobots can be programmed to make repairs at the cell level. They can find damaged tissue in the human body and start the regenerative procedure with their DNA segments to frame new, solid tissue at the site of damage. The tissue repairing mechanism can be used in multitudes of medical fields.

In addition, nanobots are also believed to be used in drug delivery, medical imaging, and have reported to function as storage devices. To convey medications to harmful cells, nanobots must be sufficiently small to infiltrate a tumor through veins, have the capacity to impel themselves and explore while maintaining a strategic distance from obstacles, distinguish oxygen levels (which demonstrate dynamic malignancy cells), and be biocompatible.

It has also been suggested that nanobots could potentially increase the average fitness level of a human. Nanobots are able to store at a maximum of 236 times the capacity of what our current red blood cells hold allowing us to sprint for 15 minutes with just a single breath. Besides aiding athletes, this could help many people become fit which could stop the increasing disease rate due to obesity and other weight and fitness related conditions. However, as amazing as this sounds, there are many ethical concerns with allowing people to become “superhumans” in a sense.

Nanobots in Treatment of Cancer

How Nanobots kill Cancer cells:

Nanobots kill cancerous cells by acting somewhat like white blood cells. Like white blood cells, they act as a defensive structure in the body. Nanobots track down cancerous cells and kill them without harming the healthy cells.

Cancer cells vs. Normal cells:

Many types of cancer cells have been associated with Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR). Cancer cells’ rapid growth means they take in abnormal amounts of nutrients (folic acid).Nanoparticles can exploit this and identify cancer cells and destroy them.

What research has been done on Nanobots in Cancer treatment?

Ido Bachelet and his team are a major aspect of Nanorobot research and development. As of now, their nanobots are programed to perceive 12 unique sorts of cancer cells and can assault them with stunning selectivity and exactness with no

damage to surrounding issues. This research is happening mostly in leukemia and lymphoma patients.

Another group of analysts from Montreal built up an option: natural Nanobots, where nanotechnology is used to load bacteria with cancer fighting drugs and guide them to cancer cells, this has worked with mice and yet to be proven with humans.

Future of Nanobots Goals:

  • Develop a highly specific team of communicating multifunctional Nanoparticles used in the discovery, treatment, and prevention of Cancer growth

  • Human clinical trials in the next 2-3 years

  • Potential to be used as on/off switches

  • Need to be cheap and affordable

  • Safer, more consistent and highly specific nanoparticle production

  • Turning Cancer into a chronic, but manageable disease within the next 15-20 years

Adverse Effects of Nanobot Use:

Nanobots can send out viruses and harm the patient’s body if there is any malfunction in the robot's structures.

Cancer targeting is highly dependent on surface chemistry. Not just any nanoparticle would work. The need for biocompatible and stable Nanoparticles, can cause toxicity in the body if there are too many of them.

Nanobots, like other technology, will become commercialized soon after their projected release in 2040 and when they first become available they will not be cheap enough that most of the general population would be able to buy them. This would lead to the upper classes of society becoming enhanced leading to discrimination based on their fitness creating another social barrier in today’s already bipolarized society. In fact, the ethical concern for nanobots is so high the progress for their release might be delayed past 2040.

Challenges in making Nanobots:

The ultimate goal is to make nanobots from other nanobots; a self-sustaining process with a little to no outside interference, however, even with high tech equipment it takes painstakingly long time to construct even one nanobot. However, even if we were to construct a nanobot there are two glaring problems; sustainable fuel sources and getting material. Getting material small enough for building nanobots is a difficult task because it has to be broken down to the nanometer level. Similarly, finding a fuel source is very hard at this level. Scientists are proposing to use radioactive atoms as a fuel source. As decay occurs, the robot would be able to continuously harness this energy and in theory make more radioactive atoms to draw energy from.

Artificial Intelligence and Nanobots

Nanobots are a new type of technology that is capable of revolutionizing healthcare around the world. It has the ability to change how healthcare professionals treat patients for generations to come. Another type of new technology that has been implemented within healthcare more and more in recent times is the use of Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence technology is the simulation of human intelligence, but through the use of a machine. Modern AI technology has numerous uses and is constantly improving at an exponential rate. According to researcher Anna Kozlova, AI technology can be implemented within nanobots in the immune system to create an autonomous robot that grows and adapts with the body resulting in stronger body defense from pathogens.

This type of technology and implementation of AI technology with nanobots is extremely new and not yet fully explored, but with further training, Kozlova believes that “An AI program alongside nanobots could act as a proxy and work in tandem to significantly improve the human body’s response to diseases such as HIV, cancer and age-related degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.” The implementation of Artificial Intelligence technology within nanobots in the near future can create a revolutionized method of treating and preventing diseases that patients of this time suffer with.


The small robots ranging from 100 nanometers to 10,000 nanometers are the machines that scientists are developing, so that they can be used in a multitude of situations like detection of cancer cells in early stages, identifying and repairing damaged cells. This research helps inform people about the appliances that doctors and scientists hope to be using in the next decade to heal some of the fatal diseases; discover ways to clean the planet; and figure out how some of the complex body parts work.


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29/12/2017, Richa BhatiaRicha Bhatia is a seasoned journalist with six-years experience in reportage and news coverage and has had stints at Times of India and The Indian Express. She is an avid reader, & Bhatia, R. (2021, January 5). Can Artificial Intelligence Speed up development of Nanobots -The New Drug therapy. Analytics India Magazine. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from