Researchers at Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering in Boston, Massachusetts, have developed a device that acts like the spleen to rid the body of infection and toxins. The artificial ‘biospleen’ uses a modified version of mannose-binding lectin (MBL), a protein found in humans that binds to sugar molecules on the surfaces of bacteria, viruses and fungi, and toxins released by dead bacteria that trigger the immune overreaction in sepsis. MBL-coated magnetic microbeads attract most pathogens, and these microbeads are introduced into the infected blood. When pathogens get isolated from the blood, the device separates these microbeads and pathogens, and clean blood is routed back to the patient. According to Donald Ingber, who led the study, this device can help in treating diseases such as HIV and Ebola as well.
Read more in Nature.