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An improved blood cleansing device from Harvard University's Wyss Institute mimics the actions of the spleen. The sepsis treatment technology cleanses pathogens and toxins from blood circulating through a dialysis-like circuit.

The new device, connected to a dialysis-like circuit, harbors a dense pack of parallel running hollow fibers whose inner surfaces are covered with the Wyss Institute’s genetically engineered Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) protein, called FcMBL. When septic blood is streamed through the device, FcMBL effectively extracts viruses, fungi, and parasites as well as toxins and dead pathogen fragments released into the bloodstream by antibiotic killing.

In animal studies, treatment with this new pathogen-extracting device reduced the number of E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and endotoxins circulating in the bloodstream by more than 99 percent.

The Wyss team plans to move to large animal studies before advancing to human clinical trials.

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