Engineer finds way to pull diseases from blood using magnets

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“IN THEORY, YOU CAN GO AFTER ALMOST ANYTHING. POISONS, PATHOGENS, VIRUSES, BACTERIA…”

A British engineer has found a way to filter unwanted cells from blood using magnets — and his tool could be used in clinical trials as soon as next year.

Thanks to existing research, biochemical scientist George Frodsham knew it was possible to force magnetic nanoparticles to bind to specific cells in the body. But while other researchers did so primarily to make those cells show up in images, he wondered whether the same technique might allow doctors to remove unwanted cells from the blood.

“When someone has a tumour you cut it out,” he told The Telegraph. “Blood cancer is a tumour in the blood, so why not just take it out in the same way?”

To that end, he created MediSieve, a treatment technology that works similarly to dialysis, by removing a patient’s blood and infusing it with magnetic nanoparticles designed to bind to a specific disease. It then uses magnets to draw out and trap those cells before pumping the filtered blood back into the patient.

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