According to the Harvard Gazette, a team of scientists at the Wyss Institute has developed an improved sepsis device that cleanses pathogens and toxins from blood flowing through a dialysis-like circuit. The improved device works with conventional antibiotic therapies and is reportedly positioned for near-term use in clinics. The team’s blood-cleaning approach can be administered quickly and without identifying the infectious agent because it uses FcMBL, the institute’s proprietary, pathogen-capturing agent.

The Harvard Gazette report notes that the device was originally conceived to operate similar to a dialysis machine, but the improved device removes the complexity, regulatory challenges, and cost associated with the magnetic beads and microfluidic architecture of its predecessor, but retains the FcMBL protein’s ability to bind to all kinds of live or dead pathogens and toxins. The system uses hollow fiber filters found in dialysis cartridges whose inner walls are coated with the FcMBL protein.

Treatment with the new pathogen-extracting device reduced the number of E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and endotoxins circulating in the bloodstream by more than 99%, in animal studies as indicated on the Harvard Gazette report.

“Using the device, alone or alongside antibiotics, we can quickly bring blood back to normal conditions, curtailing an inflammatory response rather than exacerbating it,” says Tohid Fatanat Didar, the first author of the paper. “If all goes well, physicians will someday be able to use the device in tandem with standard antibiotic treatments to deliver a one-two punch to pathogens, synergistically killing and cleansing all live and dead invaders from the bloodstream.”

With the device proving effective in small-animal studies, the Wyss researchers are planning to move to large-animal studies as the next step. Michael Super, Wyss senior staff scientist, states, “Seeing our system work in animal models gives us confidence that this could work in humans, because we are successfully treating animals infected with human pathogens.”

Wyss Institute founding director Donald Ingber, who leads the developing team for the device, says, “Our goal is to see this move out of the lab and into hospitals as well as onto the battlefield, where it can save lives, within years rather than decades.”

Source: Harvard Gazette