New diagnostic and treatment approach will require close interaction with Pathologists
There’s a novel diagnostic device designed to detect sepsis that also has to potential to engage the pathologist as part of the bedside care team. It is also an example of how nanotechnology and magnetism are being combined in ways that may support in vivo diagnosis and treatment.
Created by a research scientist at Children’s Hospital Boston, this new device uses magnetism to quickly pull disease pathogens out of infected blood. Experts predict it could become the first line of defense for sepsis, a disease which kills about 200,000 Americans each year.
The system works by drawing the patient’s blood and adding tiny magnetic beads, pre-coated with antibodies against specific pathogens, such as Candida albicans. The blood is run through a microfluidic system in which two liquid flow streams run side by side without mixing. One channel contains blood and the other contains a saline-based collection fluid. The beads bind to the pathogens. A magnet then pulls them, along with the pathogens, into the collection fluid. The collection fluid is ultimately discarded, and the cleansed blood reintroduced into the patient.