Scientists have managed to specifically treat a bacterial infection in the stomach of a mouse with micromotors that release antibiotics. This more targeted treatment should counteract side effects.
The research was conducted by the University of California San Diego, led by professors Liangfang Zhang and Joseph Wang. For the study, micromotors were used to provide antibiotics to mice with a bacterial stomach infection every day over a period of five days. The mice swallow the micromotors, after which magnesium in the motors reacts with the stomach acid. This reaction creates hydrogen bubbles, which propel the motors until they come into contact with the stomach wall and stick there. Furthermore, the reaction reduces the acidity of the stomach acid, which is a signal for the micromotor to release the antibiotics. After 24 hours, the acidity has returned to normal values and the micromotors have dissolved.
Because the acidity of the stomach acid is lowered, less of the antibiotics are broken down before it can take effect, New Scientist writes. As a result, the antibiotics no longer have to be taken with proton pump inhibitors, which hinder the production of stomach acid. According to New Scientist, this can prevent long-term side effects such as headaches, diarrhea, fatigue, anxiety or depression. The technology will not be available to humans in the short term. Before that, she will first be tested on larger animals and only later on humans.