Nanosponges used to soak up toxins in the bloodstream

If you’ve seen many old westerns, then you’ll likely have watched a few scenes where one cowboy has to suck rattlesnake venom out of another one’s leg. Things would have been much easier for those cowboys if nanosponges had been around at the time. Developed by scientists at the University of California, San Diego, the tiny sponges mimic red blood cells, and are able to soak up lethal toxins – including snake venom and bacteria – from the bloodstream.

The nanosponges are made up of a biocompatible polymer core, which is coated with segments of the host’s red blood cell membranes. That coating fools the immune system into identifying the sponges as the body’s own blood cells, so it doesn’t attack them. Because each nanosponge is 3,000 times smaller than a red blood cell, the harvested membrane of one cell provides enough material to coat thousands of sponges.

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The optimist in me says this would revolutionize the world. Get sick, inject some nano-sponges, infections...nano-sponges. Heck, weekly injections to keep all the illnesses away.

The pessimist in me says the drug companies won't let this go into trial stages. Think about how much money would be lost in cold remedies, holistic medicines and other quackery.

Just like so many other promising things, this will be relegated to the realm of myth and legend. Even if we remember about this article ten years from now, it'll be in a abstract kind of way..."remember they had something to cure us of all toxins and infections"..."yeah, I think that was an urban legend".