To rapidly cleanse the blood of pathogens, the patient's blood is mixed with magnetic nanobeads coated with a genetically engineered version of a human blood 'opsonin' protein that binds to a wide variety of bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites, and toxins. It is then flowed through microchannels in the device where magnetic forces pull out the bead-bound pathogens without removing human blood cells, proteins, fluids, or electrolytes – much like a human spleen does. The cleansed blood then flows back to the patient.
The Spleen-on-a-chip, developed at the Wyss Institute, will be used to treat bloodstream infections that are the leading cause of death in critically ill patients and soldiers injured in combat. [Credit: Wyss Institute]
|The technology makes use of specialized blood proteins and magnetic forces to pull pathogens from the blood. [Credit: Wyss Institute]|