Micromotors Safely Release Antibiotics to cure bacterial contagion – ZMR Blog
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Micromotors Safely Release Antibiotics to cure bacterial contagion

Nanoengineers at San Diego in the University of California have confirmed for the first time utilizing micromotors to treat a bacterial contagion present in the stomach. These minute vehicles, each almost 0.5 x the breadth of a human hair, swim quickly all through the stomach while reducing the effect of gastric acid and then discharge their freight of antibiotics at the preferred pH. Scientists posted their discovery this week in Nature Communications.

This micromotor-powered delivery method is a capable new approach for treating gastrointestinal and stomach tract diseases with drugs that are sensitive to acid, scientists claimed to the media. The attempt is collaboration at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering among the research teams of nanoengineering lecturers Liangfang Zhang and Joseph Wang. Zhang and Wang initiated study on the in vivo process of micromotors and this research symbolizes the first instance of micromotors delivering drug for curing bacterial contagion.


Gastric acid can be caustic to orally governed drugs such as protein-based pharmaceuticals and antibiotics. Drugs utilized to cure ulcers, bacterial infections, and other illnesses in the stomach are usually taken with supplementary substances, dubbed as proton pump inhibitors. These proton pump inhibitors are used to hold back production of gastric acid. But when consumed over longer time frames or in large doses, they can cause undesirable side effects comprising diarrhea, headaches, and fatigue. In more severe cases, they can result in depression or anxiety.

The micromotors have an in-built system to reduce the effect of gastric acid and efficiently release their drug freights in the stomach. This is done without the help of proton pump inhibitors.

“It is a one-step process with these micromotors, uniting neutralization of acid with beneficial action,” claimed Berta Esteban-Fernández de Ávila, to the media in an interview. Ávila is a postdoctoral scholar in research team of Wang at San Diego in the University of California as well as a first co-author of the study.

Every micromotor comprises a round magnesium center covered with a defensive layer of titanium dioxide. This is followed by a coating of the clarithromycin—a well-known antibiotic. Lastly, it is followed by an external coating of chitosan, a positively charged polymer, which allows the motors to attach to the wall in the stomach.

This binding is also improved by the forward motion of the micromotors, which is powered by the own acid of the stomach. The magnesium centers act in response with gastric acid thus delivering the payloads.

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