In Vivo Micromotors Powered By Stomach Acid

Check out this cool micromotor that is powered by the gastric acid in a living mouse stomach; it was developed by researchers from the Department of Nanoengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California.


(Artificial Micromotors in the Mouse’s Stomach)

Artificial micromotors, operating on locally supplied fuels and performing complex tasks, offer great potential for diverse biomedical applications, including autonomous delivery and release of therapeutic payloads and cell manipulation. Various types of synthetic motors, utilizing different propulsion mechanisms, have been fabricated to operate in biological matrices.

However, the performance of these man-made motors has been tested exclusively under in vitro conditions (outside the body); their behavior and functionalities in an in vivo environment (inside the body) remain unknown. Herein, we report an in vivo study of artificial micromotors in a living organism using a mouse model. Such in vivo evaluation examines the distribution, retention, cargo delivery, and acute toxicity profile of synthetic motors in mouse stomach via oral administration.

Using zinc-based micromotors as a model, we demonstrate that the acid-driven propulsion in the stomach effectively enhances the binding and retention of the motors as well as of cargo payloads on the stomach wall. The body of the motors gradually dissolves in the gastric acid, autonomously releasing their carried payloads, leaving nothing toxic behind.

This work is anticipated to significantly advance the emerging field of nano/micromotors and to open the door to in vivo evaluation and clinical applications of these synthetic motors.

If we're ever going to get the Proteus from the 1966 novel Fantastic Voyage, we're going to need to get that source of motive power working. This working micromotor powered by stomach acid looks like a good start.


(Fantastic Voyage trailer)

Via Artificial Micromotors in the Mouse’s Stomach: A Step toward in Vivo Use of Synthetic Motors.

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