Scientists found a way to use sperm to deliver chemotherapy to cervical cancer cells.
Why not? Sperm fight jungle-like conditions for days to crack an egg, thus proving to navigate a woman’s cervix and gynecological track pretty well.
Researchers from the Leibnitz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research in Germany used sperm armed with doxorubicin, a commonly used chemotherapy drug, to attack cervical cancer tumors in a lab. 87% of the cancer cells were killed within three days. Then the team used tiny four-armed magnetic harnesses to transport the sperm to a tumor growth. Upon abutment, the four arms opened allowing the doxorubicin-infused sperm to swim to the cancer cells and successfully kill them.
Tumors are made up of both cancerous and healthy cells, hence cancer cell-specific treatments are ideal to reduce healthy cells damage.
Moreover, direct delivery of the chemotherapeutic agent prevents it from being metabolized or diluted on its way to the organ needing treatment.
Why sperm? A Sperm may have sensors that guide it to a woman’s cervix. For it to navigate the path it does to impregnate a female it must find the os, opening, of the cervix once it enters the vagina. Transitional cells separating the endocervical cells from the ectocervical cells are a common place for cervical cancer, hence sperm may instinctively know how to find the transitional zone. This makes them the perfect messenger.
These “spermbots” could revolutionize cervical cancer therapy and possibly target other gynecological diseases such as endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, and endometriosis.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician