MICROSCOPIC sponges that circulate through the bloodstream mopping up toxins can overcome the superbug MRSA, studies have shown.
The ball-shaped “nanosponge”, which is 3,000 times smaller than a red blood cell, soaks up dangerous chemicals and transports them to the liver where they are broken down.
In tests on mice, US scientists successfully neutralised the alpha-haemolysin toxin produced by Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).
Pre-injection with the nanosponges allowed 89 per cent of mice to survive normally lethal infections. Treatment after infection saved 44 per cent of the animals.
The sponges can also combat toxin from the food bug Escherichia coli (E.coli) and venom from poisonous snakes and bees.
Study leader Professor Liangfang Zhang, from the University of California at San Diego, said: “This is a new way to remove toxins from the bloodstream.
“Instead of creating specific treatments for individual toxins, we are developing a platform that can neutralise toxins caused by a wide range of pathogens.”