While the idea of DNA robots is not a new one, a recent breakthrough in the development of this technology could one day be groundbreaking in the field of medicine.

Anupama Thubagere and Lulu Qian head up a research team at CalTech that Wednesday announced the development of nanosized robots built from DNA capable of carrying individual molecules to a specified location. These robots could one day be used to move molecules throughout the body, which would revolutionize many aspects of medicine from drug delivery and taking measurements to attacking tumors.

“It is the first time that DNA robots were programmed to perform a cargo‐sorting task, but more important than the task itself, we showed how this seemingly complex task — and potentially many other tasks — that DNA robots can be programmed to do uses very simple and modular building blocks,” Lulu Qian, head of the CalTech research team, told Gizmodo. “This is also the first example showing multiple DNA robots collectively performing the same task.”