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SciShow explains a new breakthrough in our battle against pathogens: nano magnets that clean the blood!
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Sources:
Mannose Binding Lectin program: http://wyss.harvard.edu/viewpage/462/

The Bio-Spleen at the Wyss Institute: http://wyss.harvard.edu/viewpage/463/

PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25216635

Antimicrobial resistance fact sheet: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs194/en/
Magnets...sometimes shysters will tell you to wear them because they say they’ll cure any number of diseases.   They will not do that.    But they are good for hanging stuff on your refrigerator and inducing electric currents and keeping my power cable from falling out of my Macbook.    Also...possibly... with a lot of additional technology...for scrubbing baddies out of blood.   [Intro]   The Wyss institute at Harvard has just published some of its first data from this line of research. And it relied on a lot of amazing work to get it done.    Step one: Figure out the gene that codes for Mannose Binding Lectin, a protein that’s a large part of our immune response to tons of different pathogens including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. Also lots various byproducts of infection that cause potentially deadly inflammatory responses.   Then, genetically engineer that gene so that its binding to pathogens is reversible, it doesn’t cause blood clotting, and it’s more stable than the original form.    Next, splice that engineered gene into the genome of a bacterium designed to constantly pump it out, which makes the protein a lot cheaper to produce.    But wait, there’s more...now you gotta bind that protein to microscopic, magnetic nanobeads, run some blood through the beads using a fancy micro-fluidic chamber designed based on your spleen, wait for the mannose binding lectin to bind to the mannose -- a type of sugar found on the membranes of those pathogens -- and then use magnets to pull the little beads out of the blood.   And finally, pump the cleansed blood back into the patient.   OK, so obviously this is freaking awesome...but you don’t even know how freaking awesome it is yet.    Not only does this “biospleen” filter out pathogens without needing to figure out what exactly the pathogens are, a process that can take days of tests. Not only can it be used in conjunction with, rather than a replacement for, other therapies. Not only does it extract the living pathogen from the blood for simple analysis later.    BUT IT ALSO ACTUALLY WORKS! The scientists at the Wyss institute gave some rats some nasty staph and e-coli infections. Only 17% of untreated rats survived, while 90% of the treated rats lived...and that’s without any additional therapies.    The treatment session lasted five hours. Just five hours to clean all the rats' blood! Though, rats don’t have as much blood as you do.   So yes, you may have heard that we're entering a terrifying new era of antimicrobial resistance...but also potentially a wonderful new era of new and better therapies. Just, for the time being anyway, far more expensive ones.   Thanks to all of the scientists working out there so that I don’t die a premature death, and also to all of your for watching this episode of SciShow News. If you want to help us educate the world on the awesomeness of science, which we could not do without support from people like you, you can become a supporting subscriber at Subbable.com/scishow   And if you want to keep on getting smarter with us, go to YouTube.com/scishow and subscribe!