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Doctors Can Now Pull Bacteria From Your Blood Using Magnets

Discussion in 'Microbiology' started by Dr.Scorpiowoman, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. Dr.Scorpiowoman

    Dr.Scorpiowoman Golden Member

    May 23, 2016
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    No antibiotics required.

    Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is no joke. More than half the people who contract the condition end up in the morgue. The conventional treatment involve the liberal application of antibiotics at the first sign of infection, though as we discovered on an American pig farm Wednesday, even our best meds may no longer be enough. And that's where the magnets come in.

    A joint research effort between Harvard University, the Empa research group and Adolphe Merkle Institute has resulted in a novel means of purifying blood: they simply suck the bacteria out with magnets.
    At the core of their treatment method are magnets. The researchers coated antibodies that bind to dangerous bacteria with iron particles before introducing them to the sepsis-causing bacteria in a solution.

    After the antibodies were bound to the bacteria, the solution was run through a dialysis machine, and magnets literally pulled the iron-coated antibodies and bacteria right out of the solution, leaving it free of that bacteria.

    The only issue is that the team has run into is the fact that antibodies are purpose-built. That is, they can only bind to a single type of bacteria. So if you have multiple species of bacteria infecting you, doctors will have to administer multiple rounds of the treatment to get them all. Coincidentally, the Harvard contingent of the research team is closing in on a one-size-fits-all synthetic antibody that can bind to all of the most common bacterial strains responsible for sepsis. This molecule isn't approved for humans yet but Empa has called its effectiveness "promising." There's no timetable yet for when the treatment will be made available for clinical use.

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