Nanoengineering: The Future of Medical Care
At the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego), U.S, nanoengineers have reportedly achieved a breakthrough in nanomedical care by treating a bacterial infection in the stomach with micromotors. The nanomachines, which are about half the width of a human hair successfully neutralized gastric acid accumulations while also delivering their antibiotic payloads. This particular feat is yet another feather in the cap of the rapidly evolving trend of nanomedicine. Over the years, scientists and researchers alike have been exploring avenues to apply emerging nanotechnology techniques to medical processes in an effort to create more robust treatments.
This marvelous technological breakthrough has now brought about a new cutting-edge method of treating stomach pain and gastrointestinal tract diseases. The project was the brainchild of nanoengineering professors Joseph Wang and Liangfang Zhang at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Both professors are widely renowned across the medical community as the pioneers of the in vivo operation of micromotors. Furthermore, this successful treatment also poises the first ever established case of drug-delivering micromotors for treating bacterial infection.
It’s an established fact that antibiotics and protein-based orally administered pharmaceuticals are highly prone to destruction by gastric acid and hence research had been ongoing to devise more effective means to treat stomach infections. Usually, medicines taken to treat ulcers and infections in the stomach are accompanied by proton pump inhibitors that inhibit gastric acid production. However, long-term consumption of these inhibitors can lead to several side effects including diarrhea, headaches, and fatigue.
The design of the micromotors consists of a spherical magnesium that is further given a coating of titanium dioxide. Furthermore, this combination is then strengthened with a layer of antibiotic clarithromycin, and an outer layer of a positively-charged polymer called chitosan. This, in turn, enables the nano-machines to stick to the stomach wall.
The micromotors have been designed with a built-in mechanism that enables them to neutralize gastric acid while also delivering their drug payloads. The entire process is stated to be extremely safe and does not require the use of proton pump inhibitors. These micromotors are developed using biodegradable materials and their magnesium cores and polymer layers are easily disposed of off by the gastric acid, thereby leaving no dangerous residue.
While the research has shown remarkable and encouraging results, still the researchers stress on the fact that the process is in its infancy and a lot more research needs to be conducted to bring it to the mainstream treatment flow. For further studies, the research team has proposed testing several different test combinations, in order to test the micromotors for other stomach-related diseases as well as to treat other gastrointestinal disorders.
According to Berta Esteban-Fernández de Ávila, UC San Diego (co-author of the project), “It’s a one-step treatment with these micromotors, combining acid neutralization with therapeutic action.”
While this breakthrough is still years away from being a practical treatment for stomach related illnesses, you can still bank upon the best herbal medicine for indigestion & gas called, Phytocid-GT. Infused with the incredible properties of turmeric and Zingiber officinale, this phytoceutical for gastritis aids in the reduction of nausea that is caused by motion sickness and chemotherapy. Furthermore, this wondrous natural supplement for acid reflux and gerd also acts as a highly effective anti-emetic and anti-microbial tool, while significantly increasing peristaltic movement and a gastric emptying.
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