Enzyme-powered nanoparticles for gastrointestinal drug delivery


Blasi i Moreno, Ferran


A considerate number of diseases, such as cancer, require invasive treatments and/or present severe secondary effects. Nowadays, the clinical treatment against cancer consists in surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and in some cases, targeted therapies or immunotherapy. However, these  herapies are invasive and present a low efficacy. Aiming at combating all these limitations, nanomedicine developed new potential therapies based in nanoparticles, that transport the drugs with the objective of reducing the secondary effects and increasing the efficacy of the treatment. Despite this, the traditional particles present a low efficacy in reaching the target tissues, mainly due to the presence of several biological barriers in the body, as in the case of the immune system, the extracellular matrix, or the mucosal barriers. Nano-and micromotors are particles that can self-propel in fluids and are a new technology proposed as an alternative to the traditional nanosystems based on passive particles. These motors can explore larger areas than passive particles, due to active mobility and are capable to modulate the surrounding medium, which can be a fundamental feature to  overcome biological barriers.
The objective of this project consists in studying the ability of enzymatic nanomotors based on urease and mesoporous silica to modulate the rheological properties of mucosal barriers, specifically gastric mucus. We observed that the diffusion of the nanomotors in ionic media (phosphate buffer saline) increases with the concentration of urea present in the medium. Using rheological measurements, we determined that active nanomotors can significantly reduce the viscosity of the gastric pic mucus, while maintaining its supramolecular structure. These results show the potential urease-powered nanomotors as tools for delivery of pharmaceutical actives in tissues lined mucosal barriers, such as the gastrointestinal system.



Sánchez, Samuel
Fornaguera i Puigvert, Cristina


IQS SE - Undergraduate Program in Chemistry