Nanosponges to Remove Toxins From the Bloodstream


science1Nano technology has proved to be the boon to mankind; it has revolutionized all the fields with its immense power and possibilities. Medical researchers and scientists are working day and night to use this technology to create something immense and overwhelming. Nanosponges is a latest example of this. Scientists in the US have developed tiny sponges made from nanoparticles disguised as red blood cells that can soak up the broad range of dangerous substances from the bloodstream, including toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli, bees and venomous snakes.

These nanosponges have been used with mice and showed to neutralize “pore forming toxins” which destroy cells by poking holes in their cell membranes. Each sponge features a biocompatible polymer core which is packed inside a natural red blood cell (RBC) membrane. This makes the Nanosponges similar in appearance to RBC and capable of evading the host’s immune system. Each sponge is about 3,000 times smaller than an RBC; therefore thousands of sponges can be coated with membrane taken from a single cell. One advantage of the nanosponges is that irrespective of the molecular structure they can absorb different pore-forming toxins.

A nanoengineering professor said, “This is a new way to remove toxins from the bloodstream, instead of creating specific treatments for individual toxins, we are developing a platform that can neutralize toxins caused by a wide range of pathogens, including MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”
In the bloodstream these sponges will attract “pore-forming toxins” produced by insect and snake venom, and bacteria such as E. coli, and MRSA. As the number of nanopsonges in the bloodstream will be much higher than that of RBCs, the toxins end up attaching themselves mostly to the sponges. These sponges then reach the liver where they are metabolized ensuring no harmful effects.

Pre-injecting the mice with the nanosponges enabled 89% of them to survive lethal doses of the toxin. The researchers and scientists are aiming to develop approved therapies using their approach. One of the first applications they want to develop is a treatment for MRSA. Because of the their hard work and thorough advancement, we can be assured that road left isn’t too far away.


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