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Biomimetic Spleen for the Treatment of Sepsis

Spleen device
A microfluidic cartridge from the Biomimetic Spleen device where pathogens are removed from contaminated blood.

Sepsis is a life-threatening bloodstream infection affecting 750,000 patients in the US per year and 18 million worldwide. Despite over $19B spent annually on treatment in the US, sepsis is the 10th leading cause of death due to a lack of effective diagnosis and treatment.

The Wyss Solution

Wyss Institute scientists have developed a blood-cleansing device that mimics the human spleen's critical role in combating infection by cleansing blood of microbial contaminants and toxins. This device could one day be used as an extracorporeal therapeutic device that flows blood in a closed system (much like a dialysis machine) where magnetic nanobeads coated with Wyss MBL are introduced to capture and bind bacterial, viral, or fungal pathogens. The particles bound to the contaminating microbes would be pulled from the flowing blood with a magnet, and the cleansed blood would then returned to the patient. The Biomimetic Spleen could dramatically lower the load of pathogens in a patient's bloodstream within hours while antibiotics or other therapies are simultaneously being administered to the patient, thus greatly increasing response to therapy. Most importantly, the physician would not need to know the cause of the blood infection before administering the therapy.

Caution: Investigational Device. Limited by US Law to investigational use.


Eric Devroe
Entrepreneur in Residence
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University

We've won a Webby Award!

Wyss Institute is proud to announce our win in the 2012
Webby Awards in the Science category.