Complex Made Simple

This company wants to extract diseases from your blood using magnets

A new breakthrough in modern medicine could be upon us. A UK company called Medisieve wants to cure tenacous diseases like malaria using... magnets!

To understand how Medisieve works, think how you're asked to drink a Barium solution before an X-Ray If pathogen cells could be bound with magnetic nanoparticles, you could extract them with a magnet - that's Medisieve's belief Human trials will start very soon

We’ve covered news of a longevity fund that hopes to extend human lives past a hundred years. We’ve explored the concept of remote surgery, where a doctor miles away operates on a patient through the use of mixed reality technology. 

Now, a UK company called Medisieve literally wants to use magnets to pull out diseases out of the bloodstream. Yes, you heard that right. 

How magnets birthed Medisieve

Think to how you are asked to drink a Barium solution before an MRI or X-Ray. While obviously not exactly the same, the concept is in fact similar. The same way magnetic nanoparticles can be made to bind to cells in the body, the man behind the idea, Dr. George Frodsham, believes they could also be made to bind with threatening foreign bodies like bacteria or viruses – potentially even cancer. 

In an interview with The Telegraph where he represented his company Medisieve, he went into details about his technology. He explained how foreign objects in the blood could be sucked out of the blood after being bound to magnetic particles, resulting in a non-surgical and much less intensive treatment course for some of the world’s most tenacious diseases like leukemia, sepsis and malaria.

Diagram: MedisieveEssentially, similar to a dialysis, a patient’s blood would be cycled out of their body, infused with magnetic particles that bind to the targeted pathogen, extracted using magnets, then reintroduced into the patient’s body. While this procedure will likely not remove the entirety of the pathogen, whatever residue remainders can be mopped up by the immune system or a drug course, remaining a much less invasive procedure than a heavy me or chemotherapy course, for example. 

“When someone has a tumour, you cut it out. Blood cancer is a tumour in the blood, so why not just take it out in the same way?” Dr. Frodsham said. 

He continued: “In theory you can go after almost anything. Poisons, pathogens, viruses bacteria, anything that we can specifically bind to we can remove. So it’s a very powerful potential tool.”

The magnet treatment is close to implementation?

Dr. Frodsham is confident of the technology, with human trials currently awaiting approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and are likely to start next year, the Telegraph reports. Testing will begin on malaria in 2020 followed by trials to see if the device can remove sepsis-causing bacteria and dampen down the deadly immune response by 2021.

As a company, Medisieve is an offshoot from University College London, established in 2015. It has raised £2.1 million ($2.7 million) in equity funding and grants totaling £2 million ($2.57 million) since.