August 16, 2017

"Tiny robotic drug deliveries could soon be treating diseases inside your body."

new scientist: For the first time, micromotors – autonomous vehicles the width of a human hair – have cured bacterial infections in the stomachs of mice, using bubbles to power the transport of antibiotics. by Timothy Revell

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

'In mice with bacterial stomach infections, the team used the micromotors to administer a dose of antibiotics daily for five days. At the end of the treatment, they found their approach was more effective than regular doses of medicine.

'The tiny vehicles consist of a spherical magnesium core coated with several different layers that offer protection, treatment, and the ability to stick to stomach walls. After they are swallowed, the magnesium cores react with gastric acid to produce a stream of hydrogen bubbles that propel the motors around. This process briefly reduces acidity in the stomach. The antibiotic layer of the micromotor is sensitive to the surrounding acidity, and when this is lowered, the antibiotics are released.'

"Micromotor-enabled active drug delivery for in vivo treatment of stomach infection" by Berta Esteban-Fernández de Ávila, et al. here

"In an unusual move for Intel, the chip giant has ever so slightly taken the wraps off of one of their future generation Core architectures."

anandtech: Basic information on the Ice Lake architecture has been published over on Intel's codename decoder, officially confirming for the first time the existence of the architecture and that it will be made on Intel's 10nm+ process. by Ian Cutress

'This is an unexpected development as the company has yet to formally detail (let alone launch) the first 10nm Core architecture – Cannon Lake – and it's rare these days for Intel to talk more than a generation ahead in CPU architectures. Equally as interesting is the fact that Intel is calling Ice Lake the successor to their upcoming 8th generation Coffee Lake processors, which codename bingo aside, throws some confusion on where the 14nm Coffee Lake and 10nm Cannon Lake will eventually stand.'

"A new study may finally lay the groundwork for a medical-grade psilocybin patients can take."

gizmodo: “Given the renewed pharmaceutical interest in psilocybin, our results may lay the foundation for its biotechnological production,” the researchers write in the study published this month in the journal Angewandte Chemie (it’s German). by Ryan F. Mandelbaum

'If you’re interested in the actual steps: It starts with a special kind of tryptophan molecule, with an extra oxygen and hydrogen stuck on, like an anglerfish with a big head and a tail and an extra piece hanging off like the headlight. An enzyme the researchers named PsiD first strips a carbon dioxide molecule off of the tail. Then, an enzyme they called PsiK phosphorylates it, meaning it replaces the headlight’s oxygen with a special setup of phosphorus with some oxygen attached. A final enzyme, called PsiM, works to replace two hydrogen atoms on the tail with methyl groups, or carbon atoms with three hydrogens attached.'

"Enzymatic synthesis of psilocybin" by Janis Fricke, Felix Blei, and Dirk Hoffmeister [pdf] here