Magnetic Tool That Removes Diseases From the Blood Set For Human Trials

A magnetic tool that can pull leukemia and malaria out of the blood is expected to start trials next year.
Donna Fuscaldo

A UK biochemist George Frodsham has reportedly discovered a way to remove disease-causing microbes from the blood using magnets and now his company is gearing up to start human trials. 

Studying magnetic nanoparticles and how they bind to cells in the body gave Frodsham the idea a few years back to use the same principles to extract viruses including leukemia, Sepsis, and malaria from the blood

The idea is that any virus,  blood cancer or infection can be removed from the body thanks to tiny magnetics, removing the need for medication or treatments like chemotherapy.  


MediSieve trials slated for 2020 

His idea turned into MediSieve, which was spun out from the University College London in 2015 to develop and commercialize magnetic blood filtration. It has raised £2.1M in equity funding and grants totaling £2.M.  Now the first human trials of its technology, which is named after the company, is expected to start in 2020. 

The MediSieve system was developed to integrate with existing hospital pumps, connecting to user-supplied blood lines that interface with cannulas or catheters used for venous access. The MediSieve Filter, the heart of the system, is a single-use, disposable magnetic filter which captures and retains the magnetic components. The company says a patient's total blood volume can be filtered in under an hour. 

MediSieve system diagram
MediSeve Filter and Magnet. Source: MediSieve 

The magnet is a collection of permanent magnets that generate a strong magnetic field in the area where the filter is inserted. MediSieve Particles, which are biocompatible magnetic particles coated with binding agents, attach to specific targets. They do not have to enter the patient's body. They are injected into an external blood loop and removed using the magnetic filter. 

A technique for all diseases? 

 “In theory you can go after almost anything. Poisons, pathogens, viruses bacteria, anything that we can specifically bind to we can remove. So it’s a very powerful potential tool," Frodsham told The Telegraph. “When someone has a tumour you cut it out, Blood cancer is a tumour in the blood, so why not just take it out in the same way? Now we know it’s possible, it’s just a question of figuring out some of the details.” 

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