At the ETH Zurich Functional Materials Laboratory, chemical engineer Lukas Langenegger is developing a nanomedical procedure for the purification of blood.
In the EU alone, 80,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant, many of them because no donor with the suitable blood group can be found. Blood poisoning is the most frequent cause of death in hospital emergency rooms. These are two facts that share a common cause: Existing dialysis procedures cannot deal effectively with antibodies and pathogens. Lukas Langenegger wants to be the man to change this. With two colleagues, Corinne Hofer and Carlos Mora of ETH Zurich, he is developing a method to ‘fish for’ harmful substances in the human blood. Chemical binding molecules sitting on metallic nanoparticles serve as ‘bait’. These molecules react with the target substances in the blood, which can thus be ‘pulled out’ using a magnet. Lukas Langenegger is applying to foundations for money to fund his startup. He is confident that he will be successful: “Our technology can save lives.”