Medgadget has been following the Wyss Institute’s at Harvard development of new therapies and techniques to battle sepsis. At first, researchers tried using a combination of a special protein stuck to magnetic particles in an artificial spleen device to remove pathogens from blood. However, using magnetic nanoparticles comes with a few complications. In order to bypass any potential problems, the scientists instead decided to design a filter using the same bacteria/toxin capturing protein to remove the pathogens.
On October 8th, the Wyss Institute revealed its newest startup called Opsonix Inc. The startup says that the $8 million in proceeds from Baxter Ventures and private investor Hansjörg Wyss will be used to further advance this therapy. Opsonix’s device uses commonly used dialysis filters and a pathogen capturing protein which are engineered alterations of opsonins found in human blood called Fc-MBL. This technology holds great potential in treating sepsis as it works well with conventional antibiotic treatments. In fact, this technique can also be used on patients who cannot be treated with normal antibiotics. For example, if the patient is infected with highly resistant bacterial strains.
Wyss Institute founding director Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D. stated:
“We are developing an entirely new approach to treat sepsis that directly and quickly eliminates the pathogens and toxins that trigger the sepsis cascade. Even more importantly, we can accomplish this without having to first identify the infectious agent”
Opsonix’s next steps are preclinical trials and we look forward to seeing this technology become ubiquitous in hospitals around the world.