Nature Communications has an article about new technology for filtering toxins that could lead to novel medical devices.
Researchers Maling Gou & Xin Qu of Sichuan University, China explain in the paper they authored how they used nanoparticles to capture toxins in a 3D-printed hydrogel nanocomposite matrix.
Nanoparticles can be injected for detoxification but the nanoparticles accumulate in the liver, posing a risk of secondary poisoning. The Sichuan University team used a 3-D printing technique to build a fine-resolution matrix from a hydrogel and polydiacetylene nanoparticles. The nanoparticles attract, capture and sense toxins, while the 3D matrix with a modified liver lobule microstructure keeps them efficiently trapped. The bonding of the toxins to the nanoparticles induces a change that turns the hydrogel red, which could be used as a natural indicator that the material should be replaced.
I can envision this technology being incorporated into entirely new medical devices that could revolutionize dialysis and other treatments.