Innovation That Matters

Red blood cells | Photo source Arek Socha from Pixabay

Medical device may filter out disease

Health & Wellbeing

A device aims to filter infected cells out of the blood and could be ready for clinical trials in 2020

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Spotted: British engineer Dr George Frodsham has developed a way to remove disease from the body using magnets. Frodsham’s device, MediSieve, filters infected cells out of the blood. The device could be ready for clinical trials in 2020.

Frodsham came up with the idea while using magnetic nanoparticles to magnetise cells for imaging. He realised that, in theory, the same process could be used to remove a virus or infection from the body. The MediSieve works in a similar way to dialysis. The patient’s blood is infused with magnetic nanoparticles that are designed to bind to a specific disease. The sieve then uses magnets to trap those cells as they are filtered through the system before the filtered blood is pumped back into the patient.

With each pass through the system, more and more of the diseased cells are removed from the blood, leaving the remainder to be eliminated using drug therapy. Some diseases are magnetic naturally. Malaria invades iron-rich red blood cells, consumes the haemoglobin, and leaves behind an iron-based waste product that can be picked up by the MediSieve’s magnets. For this reason, the first trials of MediSieve will be on patients infected with malaria.

Frodsham’s team is currently awaiting approval to start human trials. These could happen as soon as 2020, with trials on sepsis-causing bacteria following in 2021. Frodsham told The Telegraph that, “In theory, you can go after almost anything. Poisons, pathogens, viruses, bacteria, anything that we can specifically bind to we can remove.”

Medicine is, by its nature, open to innovation. At Springwise, we have recently covered medical advances such as CRISPR gene editing, a portable AI medical kit and an insulin-delivery pill.



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