Particle Removal from Blood

A sentence perhaps erroneously attributed to the Latin historian Sallust reads ‘faber est suae quisque fortunae’, which, translated, means that ‘everyone is the architect' (the blacksmith, if one wants a literal translation) of their fate. Thus, it will be us, both as a whole society and according to the behaviour of each individual, who decide what the future which awaits us will be.

If what we want is a future in which we aim exclusively at health by trying first not to lose it and, if it is unfortunately lost, to recover it in the best possible way, it is inevitable that we must avoid the use of drugs which not infrequently becomes an abuse. We have already seen, in fact, how there is no drug without side effects, and it is not uncommon for those effects to be worse than the disease they should cure.

But we deal with solid, inorganic and non-degradable micro- and nanoparticles, whatever their origin, and in the more than 20 years dedicated to that topic, we have found that a large and, unfortunately, increasing quantity of pathologies derives from the interference of small dust with our body.

Therefore, it seems reasonable to us that it is indispensable to detect the pollution source in order to be able to remove the subject from it. It seems as reasonable to us to think that removing those particles from the blood could be an effective form of prevention or, in some cases, of therapy. This, at least, when the particles are still in the blood.

Several years ago, we carried out a very simple experiment in our laboratory using the few means we had available. We tried to remove the micro- and nanoparticles which were present in the blood and the result was very encouraging.

The system had the advantage of being easy to use, scarcely invasive and repeatable without contraindications. Therefore, it could be used to clean from particles the blood of those who, for whatever reason, had undergone exposure to dust. This could be applied both to acute cases, such as what happens to firefighters when they are called to put out a fire, and to cases of prolonged or chronic intoxication as happens to soldiers, to those who work in the numerous polluted factories or to the urban police continuously exposed to traffic, etc.

It is quite possible that a filter based on the knowledge of nanotechnology already acquired and that which could be developed if one focused on the problem could be designed and produced. Of course, what we have experimentally developed in our laboratory should be engineered in such a way as to be able to make available to medicine an apparatus and a filter which can be used routinely without difficulty and without particular inconvenience for the subject who undergoes the 'cleaning'. The idea, however, was not followed up due to the lack of the funds needed for the necessary engineering and careful experimentation. Still, we are waiting for an industry in the sector to decide that some effort in this direction is worthwhile.

Conclusions

But now the question is, What will the future be like?

The question has existed since man exists, and no oracle has ever had an acceptable degree of accuracy.

The possible extrapolations are infinite, and everyone is free to choose the one they like best. We can only say that today, as has often been the case in history, much of the future is in our hands. One thing is certain: the path we have taken satisfies our laziness and our being spoiled children. This is a dead end. If we want the next generation not to ask us too embarrassing questions, we will necessarily have to rethink our lifestyle and we will have to apply science for what it really is and not for what we naively want to delude ourselves that it is.

References

  • 1. http://www.salute.gov.it/imgs/C_17_pubblicazioni_2608_allegato. pdf.
  • 2. https://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/reach/pdf/ publications/final.report.pp.pdf.
 
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