Project: Research project

Project Details


Therapeutic plasmapheresis has important clinical applications in the
treatment of a variety of immunologic and metabolic disorders, with
particular benefits in the treatment of autoimmune diseases like
rheumatoid arthritis. Widespread use of the current therapy, which
involves removal and subsequent replacement of the patient's plasma, is
limited by the large cost and potential complications associated with
the use of exogenous replacement fluids, e.g. pooled plasma, that are
returned to the patient. Selective protein filtration can provide an
inexpensive means for separating the immunoglobulin fraction of plasma,
which generally contains the pathogenic species, from the albumin
fraction, which can then be safely returned to the patient. Although commercial membranes have been developed that appear to have
adequate properties for separating albumin and IgG, previous attempts at
this selective protein separation have generally been unsuccessful.
This failure has been attributed to a number of different phenomena, but
the coupling between bulk and membrane transport has made it difficult
to determine which of these phenomena actually govern flux and
separation efficiency in clinical devices. The objective of our work is
to identify the mechanisms that determine filtrate flux and protein
separation efficiency using a coordinated experimental and theoretical
program. This involves experiments designed to isolate and characterize
the important physical phenomena under conditions where data acquisition
and subsequent analysis are relatively straightforward. Experiments are
also proposed to obtain accurate data for flux and protein separation
efficiency in a laboratory scale cross-flow filter using a variety of
polymeric membranes with very different physical and chemical
properties. The physical insight obtained from these studies will then
be applied to the analysis of clinical/industrial devices for the
selective filtration of albumin and IgG.
Effective start/end date7/15/896/30/92


  • National Institutes of Health

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