"The technique: A microfluidic device filled with magnetic nanometer-sized beads that bind a plethora of pathogens and toxins was able to clear these invaders from the blood of rats with sepsis, improving their outcomes, according to a paper published today (September 14) in Nature Medicine. The design of the extracorporeal device was inspired by the small vessels and sinusoids within the spleen, through which blood “trickles slowly, almost like in a wetlands, efficiently capturing pathogens” said lead study author Donald Ingber, a professor at Harvard Medical School and founding director of the Wyss Institute in Boston.
The device has two interconnected channels, one for the flowing blood and another containing a saline solution that traps and removes the pathogens. Magnetic nanobeads coated with a genetically engineered version of the mannose binding lectin (MBL) protein—which has a natural proclivity for foreign toxins and bugs, and normally functions as part of the mammalian innate immune system—are injected into the flowing blood before it enters the device."
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