It also remains unclear what happens to the molecular syringe once it enters the bloodstream. In their animal experiment in a mouse brain, the molecule was barely attacked by the body. The researchers only noticed that it disappeared after seven days. However, this limiting reaction is typical of the normally weaker immune system in the brain. Outside of this, the alien troll may challenge the immune system much more. If he hits the defense at full strength, the syringe will be depleted long before the target appears. It is possible that these defensive reactions appear only after repeated use.
mRNA vaccine technology, which was also very promising at first, failed because of very similar difficulties. And that for decades. Only when it was possible to protect the RNA sequence from attacks by the body’s defense system was the process ready for use. What is certain is that the molecular syringe still has a long way to go before it is ready to use.
Experts are confident
In general, however, most of the experts surveyed are very optimistic: “It seems that we are on the cusp of a new development that could be of similar importance to what we saw ten years ago with CRISPR-Cas technology,” says Wendtner. Many are even talking about hacking.
By the way, the work is also made possible by another technology that is currently making a name for itself: artificial intelligence. To see how the tail docks on the receptors, Zhang’s team used the artificial intelligence program AlphaFold. It allows the shape of proteins to be predicted with a high level of reliability based solely on their sequence. A problem that previously could only be solved with extremely time-consuming laboratory work.
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