25th May 2023
The European Week Against Cancer is here! Health professionals, institutions, as well as cancer patients and survivors join the conversation on the implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, a core priority of the European Commission in the 2019-2024 legislative term.
To fight cancer, technology is crucial. Technological advances will shape and improve the future of cancer care. One such promising technology which can help fight blood cancer is being developed by MediSieve, a finalist in this year’s EIT Health Catapult programme.
MediSieve’s magnetic blood filtration technology can filter blood to draw out specific infections to treat illnesses like malaria, sepsis, and blood cancers.
In the latest instalment of Conversations with our Network, we interview MediSieve Founder and CEO Dr. George Frodsham. He talks about his early career, the uniqueness of the technology being developed, and what’s next for MediSieve.
Tell us about your time at UCL as a researcher before the idea of MediSieve was conceived?
I had a fascination for the world of nanotechnology, so I studied a masters in this subject at UCL. With my background in physics and engineering, I have always been interested in the areas of science that can impact our daily lives. It was around that time that I came up with the concept that eventually became, MediSieve.
What inspired you to come up with a technology like magnetic blood filtration?
There were a couple of people in my life who were fighting different forms of cancer like blood cancer and brain cancer. While brain cancer detected at an early stage can be treated by cutting the tumour out, you cannot do the same with a blood cancer patient.
What if we could develop a solution to help these patients? This is where the magnetic blood filtration idea was born. I was aware that there were some technologies that could remove substances from the blood, but they were very limited in what they could remove.
So, I thought since the technology existed from an engineering perspective, let’s see can it be pursued any further.
Can you tell us how magnetic blood filtration works and what makes it unique?
The way this technology works is that it selectively removes substances from the bloodstream by continuously circulating a patient’s blood through the system, similar to dialysis. The technology uses targeted magnetic beads, which bind specifically to the targets in the bloodstream that doctors want to remove.
So, by using this approach what we have is something that is applied very specifically, very targeted, but at the same time can be applied to a huge range of different substances within the blood. We can target molecules, cells, toxins, pathogens, and so on.
How do you envision MediSieve improving patient outcomes and revolutionising the treatment of blood-borne diseases?
We are offering a unique new tool that we want to put into the hands of doctors, to enable them to save a lot of patients suffering from blood-borne diseases. Moving forward, there are so many different areas where this kind of technology and approach can provide benefits. We want revolutionize the way these diseases are tackled, by providing doctors and pharma companies with a new tool and a new approach.
Why did you apply for EIT Health’s Catapult programme?
We have received a lot of support and involvement from EIT Health and EIC over the years. We were semi-finalists in EIT Health’s Catapult competition once before, so we thought we would try again this year. There are benefits that you get throughout the process, such as the mentoring program. The feedback we received on our pitch has helped us articulate our story and communicate it better to investors and potential partners. And that’s what a company like ours needed. It came at a very acute time for us.
How has the experience been so far? What are the highlights for you from the Catapult competition?
The highlight of this entire experience so far was receiving the email announcing that we were selected as biotech finalists this year. It was unexpected. The calibre of all other participating companies is high in this programme, in terms of story presentation, brilliant technologies, and innovations.
As a founder and innovator, what are your key takeaways from the journey with MediSieve so far?
This has been a huge part of my life. This journey has been an adventure – some days it is amazing, some days not so great. But it has taught me a lot of valuable lessons, and there are lots of positives such as the people I get to work with, the impact I can create, and the way I can do it.
Learn more about the magnetic blood filtration technology developed by MediSieve.
Check out EIT Health’s accelerator programmes currently open for founders and start-ups to apply.