Rise of the Tummy Raider!

Khryss | Published 2017-08-25 16:11

Tiny robots crawl through mouse's stomach to heal ulcers!

Micromotors are autonomous vehicles with the width of a human hair -- and recently, it has been discovered that this could soon be used as treatment for diseases inside one's body. In a recent study, these micromotors have cured bacterial infections in the stomachs of mice, using bubbles to power the transport of antibiotics.

Joseph Wang at the University of California San Diego who led the research with Liangfang Zhang says, "The momeevnt itself improves the retention of antibiotics on the stomach lining where the bacteria are concentrated."

The team used the micromotors to administer a dose of antibiotics daily in mice with bacterial stomach infections for five days. They found their method was more effected than the regular dosage of medicine at the end of the experiment slash treatment.

The miniature-sized vehicles consist of a spherical magnesium core coated with varied layers that provide protection, treatment, and the ability to stick to the walls of stomachs. The magnesium cores react with gastric acid to produce a stream of hydrogen bubbles that propel the motors around after they are ingested, which shortly goes through acidity reduction. The antibiotic layer of the micromotor is totally responsive to the surrounding acidity, so the instance this is lowered, the antibiotics are discharged.

Antibiotics and protein-based medicines and pharmaceuticals can be destroyed before they even take effect without the reduction of the acidity. This means that drugs typically used to treat bacterial infections (such as ulcers) have to be taken alongside proton pump inhibitors that suppress gastric acid production. However, long-term usage of these inhibitors can lead to unhealthy side effects including diarrhoea, fatigue, and even anxiety or depression. Thus the creation of these tiny vehicles is indeed a huge step forward.

The stomach acid of the mice reverted to its normal levels just after 24 hours. The micromotors gradually dissolved in and by the stomach, leaving no harmful residues, since these are mostly made of biodegradable materials.

Thomas Mallouk at Pennsylvania State University claims that it’s a really nifty and impressive application and expects that the impact will be big. Samuel Sanchez at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems cites that the new work is “pushing the field of micro-motors forward” and presents the benefits of using micromotors over the long-established methods.

Here's to hoping that this will progress to an even bigger animal study, and then up to successful tests with humans.



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