Thursday, September 18, 2014

Artificial Biospleen to Filter the Blood

Biospleen to Filter the Blood


The recent issue of Nature reported the development of a high-tech methodology to clean up the body from infection even if the causative pathogen is unknown. This device inspired by the Spleen to clean up the blood quickly and easily. This can be mentioned as an ‘artificial Biospleen’ to clean up the blood.

Knowing about Spleen


The spleen is the organ that is responsible for purifying the blood as well as storing blood cells. It is positioned in the superior abdomen, and is the largest lymphatic organ in the body. The spleen serves a valuable role in immune function because it purifies the blood and helps the immune system with recognize and attack foreign antibodies and disease. The spleen is composed of the red and white pulp. The white pulp produces and grows immune cell as well as blood cells. On the other hand, the red pulp is responsible for purifying the blood and removing dead or old blood cells.

Application of Artificial Biospleen

Infection in blood is difficult to identify and cure. Usually more than 50% of time physicians treat this by antibiotic which attack on broad range of pathogens. This approach is not always effective, and can lead to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

In search of a way to clear any infection, a team led by Donald Ingber, a bioengineer at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering in Boston, Massachusetts, developed an artificial 'biospleen' to filter blood.

The filtering technology


Scientist used modified version of Mannose binding Lectin (MBL). a protein found in humans that binds to sugar molecules on the surfaces of more than 90 different bacteria, viruses and fungi, as well as to the toxins released by dead bacteria that trigger the immune overreaction in sepsis.

The researchers coated magnetic nanobeads with MBL. As blood enters the Biospleen device, passes by the MBL-equipped nanobeads, which bind to most pathogens. A magnet on the Biospleen device then pulls the beads and their quarry out of the blood, which can then be routed back into the patient.

Testing of the Biospleen in infected rats showed that 90% of pathogens cleaned by the device in 5 hours. The researchers then tested whether the Biospleen could handle the volume of blood in an average adult human — about 5 litres. They ran human blood containing a mixture of bacteria and fungi through the Biospleen at a rate of 1 litre per hour, and found that the device removed most of the pathogens within five hours.

The Biospleen could also help to treat viral diseases such as HIV and Ebola, in which survival depends on lowering the amount of virus in the blood to a negligible level. This may be a future breakthrough device to save human life. 


About the Author

Prejeesh Sreedharan

Author & Editor

I am a Biotechnologist very much interested in #SciTech (Science And Technology). I closely follow the developments in medical science and life science. I am also very enthusiast in the world of electronics, information technology and robotics. I always looks for ways to make complicated things simpler. And I always believes simplest thing is the most complicated ones.

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