Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist
Today, Fast Company described new research from scientists who have found a way to utilize DNA to send huge amounts of data between cells. Essentially, this allows them the ability to have one cell give instructions to another.
Now, like we use the Internet and social networks to communicate with one another, scientists could someday “hack” cells to do the same thing. This discovery has allowed scientists to use with “M13 communication system” to “wraps up strands of DNA (programmed by scientists) and sends them out in proteins that infect cells and release the DNA messages once they have gained entry.” Using this communications system, scientists can send whatever they want in the DNA.
While this technology has limited applications now, down the line it could allow scientists the ability to engineer tissue or create artificial organs and biomaterials. Even though it’s in its earliest stages, people are starting to call this the “biological Internet.”
To me, this seems like something straight out of sci-fi movie (plot: someone hacks your cells and can make you do whatever they want to fulfill their evil scheme). But, realistically, the implications of this are huge—what if healthy cells could one day send a message to diseased cells telling them how to repair themselves? It may seem far off, but if your cells can send novels back and forth at a whim, what’s to stop them?