john asked in Science & MathematicsBiology · 1 month ago

science fiction question: could you cure cancer by teleporting the corrupted DNA out of a person?

Basically, lets say you have a teleporter, this teleporter can be pointed at a molecule, lets say its a pure DNA extract from a cancer sample, meaning it will scan a region it is pointed at, and teleport out all the matching DNA molecules.

Would something like this be enough to sure someones cancer. this of course is assuming that either theres only 1 DNA variation in play, or, that every variation has been sampled.

would that be enough to stop it?

Follow up question would also be, is cancer DNA actually different? if not, what are the physical differences so that you could have a molecule, that if removed from everywhere in the body potentially, or at least a localized area, would stop the cancer from growing and/or die?

7 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    Yes, exactly that happens in Larry Niven's "Ringworld".  Actually the person gets teleported, but the teleport machine leaves all the bad stuff behind.

    This is not entirely consistent with actual science, since ageing involves some loss, of telomeres for example.

  • 1 month ago

    Certainly.  In Star Trek, they sometimes used a "biofilter" in the transporter to remove disease.

  • Jim
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Realize the original person was obliterated (killed) whenever they are transported...

  • 1 month ago

    Sure. If magic existed, curing cancer would be trivially easy.

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  • Zirp
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    okay, I'll play. Assume we are capable of changing individual protons and neutrons in billions of cells

    If the cancer is caused by chemicals foreign to the body, e.g. asbestos fibers, editing the DNA won't help.

    > is cancer DNA actually different?

    No. Genetics for cancer are just like other DNA, recipes written in a four-letter alphabet (C-T-G-A)

  • MARK
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Of course, this is only science fiction.

    I could accept a teleporter that may be able to take a small part of a person and remove it. I have always thought the idea of teleporters was rather silly. How do you break up a person move all their molecules to another place and reassemble them making sure all their molecules go back in the right place? What happens to/where is that person for the time their molecules are all separated and being transported?

    I believe the issue with your idea is how can you identify the molecules that need removing? How do you only remove those? If this were to work it would work best when a cancer has only just started to develop and is completely in situ. Therefore, in concert with this we would need to be able to better detect cancers at their earliest stage. A further problem to overcome is that at such an early stage the cancer produces no symptoms therefore the person with the cancer does not go and get checked out. I think in addition to this idea of removing a malignant neoplasm at its very earliest stages would also need to bring about changes in cancer detection.

  • Dixon
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    If teleporting stuff out of a body was possible they would probably just image the tumors with conventional MRI and PET scanning and then remove them.

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