Who needs gigantic dialysis machines? The first portable blood filter has just been approved for testing on humans, and it's practically pocket-sized.
The Hemopurifier has been in development for years now, and it finally got approval from the FDA for a extremely limited field test where it'll try to treat Hepatitis C by filtering the blood Hep-afflicted kidneys can't handle. The very first phase of tests will involve 10 patients, all with end stage renal disease, who get to replace two weeks of standard dialysis sessions with the rolling pin-sized device.
To use it, all you have to do is slam the thing into your arm, at which point your blood pressure is all it takes to draw blood up into the tube, push it through the filter, and back into your arm. It's equal parts creepy and awesome.
This is a super early trial, so the goal is just to get safety procedures in place before even thinking about how effective the thing actually is. But if it works well in practice, it could be a useful weapon against all kinds of blood-borne diseases, and could even help fight certain forms of cancer. That is, if you can get over the unpleasantness of plugging it into your arm. [Medgadget]