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Electronics & Test
DARPA Device Cleans Wounded Soldiers' Blood
5/18/2012

An artist's concept of how a device designed by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's Dialysis-Like Therapeutics program would remove 'dirty' blood and replace it with 'clean' blood in the treatment of sepsis.   (Source: DARPA)
An artist's concept of how a device designed by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's Dialysis-Like Therapeutics program would remove "dirty" blood and replace it with "clean" blood in the treatment of sepsis.
(Source: DARPA)

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Beth Stackpole
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So long sepsis
Beth Stackpole   5/18/2012 7:57:58 AM
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Looks like some great potential for mitigating one of the greater risks to injured soliders. When you liken it to equipment used for dialysis, though, I'm imaging these are pretty big machines, which seems to me that it would be more realistic for these to be part of combat hospitals as opposed to units engaged in the field.

naperlou
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Re: So long sepsis
naperlou   5/18/2012 10:07:22 AM
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Beth, I am not so sure they would be large.  It is amazing how compact the technologies mentioned in the article can be.  Elizabeth, do you have any information on that?

Dave Palmer
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Re: So long sepsis
Dave Palmer   5/18/2012 12:22:12 PM
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This is exciting stuff.  When I was in college, I worked on a portable membrane filtration system for red blood cells.  For long-term storage, red blood cells are treated with glycerol and frozen, but the glycerol needs to be removed before they can be used in a transfusion.  The system we designed was a closed-loop system which used refractive index and UV spectrophotometry to ensure that the blood cells were clean.  This DARPA project is obviously much more complex.

Besides being used to treat wounded soldiers, I could imagine this technology being used to treat maternal sepsis and neonatal sepsis, which claim the lives of many mothers and their newborn children, especially in developing countries.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: So long sepsis
Ann R. Thryft   5/18/2012 2:30:38 PM
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This looks like a great idea and the latest in battlefield medicine, which has a long history of innovations in emergency surgery and certain preventive techniques. I wouldn't be surprised if DARPA-funded research has shrunk the size of these machines dramatically from what's used for dialysis.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: So long sepsis
Rob Spiegel   5/18/2012 4:22:58 PM
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It's good to see technology developed for those who are injured on the battlefield. It will also be good to see technology like this transferred to the non-military world of medicine.

Kaeliz
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Re: So long sepsis
Kaeliz   5/21/2012 9:56:07 AM
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My mind just boggles at the possibilities if/when this device comes into existence.  If it could target and remove all 'abnormal' blood cells .......... WOW!  Bye-bye to HIV, Cancer, Common Cold.

Greg M. Jung
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Good Breakthrough
Greg M. Jung   5/18/2012 10:28:20 PM
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Good to see this technology being developed.  A relatively young and healthy friend of mine contracted sepsis and was hours away from death before it was finally identified and before the drugs took effect.  It was very scary.  I hope that the cost of the device is also reasonable so that this equipment can be purchased by many hospitals.

NadineJ
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Re: Good Breakthrough
NadineJ   5/19/2012 1:11:40 PM
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I agree.  This is fantastic.  The humanitarian applications are limitless.

How portable is it?  What's the power source?  It must be, at least, a moderate size for possible field use.

Scott Orlosky
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Re: Good Breakthrough
Scott Orlosky   5/19/2012 5:29:55 PM
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I lost a friend to sepsis a few years back  By time they recognized it, it was too late.  By one account as many as 750,000 people a year are afflicted in the US alone.  What's good for the battlefield is good at home as well.

gsmith120
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Re: Good Breakthrough
gsmith120   5/22/2012 5:57:06 AM
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Scott, I agree what's good for the battlefield is good for home.  I'm guessing/hoping their focus is much wider than was stated.

William K.
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DARPA Device cleans blood.
William K.   5/21/2012 5:41:36 PM
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If such a device can be produced without the typical complications of damaging blood cells, then it would be a "miracle class" machine, with a wonderful potential of curing a number of problems. 

A device like this could justify the DARPA budget if they never had another good idea!

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