Money will help fund trials of magnetic filter device that treats malaria
MediSieve, the developer of a magnetic filter device that treats malaria by capturing and removing malaria infected red blood cells, has received a Pathfinder Award from the Wellcome Trust.
The award provides MediSieve with £102,000 to fund a 12-month project to manufacture and test clinical prototypes of its device. To secure the award, MediSieve had to demonstrate that it could meet the scheme’s stringent criteria. These include:
The aim of the project is to prove the device is safe for use on human patients. The Wellcome Trust is an independent global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health through science, research and engagement with society. By offering focused support to opportunities that will transform lives, it ensures that ideas reach their full potential.
Speaking about the award, Dr George Frodsham, founder of MediSieve, said: “We’re delighted to get this Pathfinder Award. It means we can take a huge step forward with our project and build our relationship with the Wellcome Trust. We can now produce the clinical version of our device in preparation for pre-clinical studies.”
MediSieve’s Pathfinder Award comes less than six months after the company secured £350,000 in seed funding to develop its device.
Treatment with MediSieve’s magnetic filter device involves no drugs or chemicals and offers new hope for malaria patients whose cases are severe or resistant to existing medicines. Initial trials show that the 3D printed magnetic blood filter could extract up to 90% of infected cells from a person with malaria in under four hours.
Red blood cells infected with a malaria parasite have magnetic properties. This enables MediSieve’s device to capture them without affecting healthy cells. The process is similar to dialysis in that infected cells are captured as blood passes through an external loop. Rapid removal of infected cells has the potential to reduce symptoms, severity and mortality.
This treatment could be used when drugs become ineffective or to supplement existing drug treatments. The magnetic device could help patients manage malaria and keep symptoms at bay indefinitely.
MediSieve’s breakthrough comes at a time when scientists are increasingly concerned about drug-resistant strains of malaria. Today, three of the five strains of the disease that affect humans can resist antimalarials – and they’re spreading across India, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.
Malaria is one of the world’s most-deadly diseases. Some 207 million cases are diagnosed every year, claiming 600,000 lives. Occasionally, the disease is untreatable, either because diagnosis is too late or the strain is resistant to drugs currently available.
MediSieve’s intellectual property rights are unaffected by the Pathfinder Award.