La Jolla-based company behind experimental Ebola treatment - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

La Jolla-based company behind experimental Ebola treatment

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LA JOLLA (CNS) - An experimental blood filtration system is being used to treat an Ebola patient in Germany.

The Ugandan doctor who contracted the often-fatal disease is at a hospital in Frankfurt, where he is attached to a Hemopurifier made by Aethlon Medical. The physician became sick while in Sierra Leone, one of the African nations that has suffered a severe outbreak of Ebola.

The device can be fitted into a dialysis machine, which filters blood for people with kidney disease.

Jim Joyce, the founder and CEO of Aethlon Medical, told City News Service Tuesday that some Ebola patients end up on dialysis because of kidney failure or a need to remove fluid that builds up in the body.

He said the device also can be used without dialysis equipment by inserting tubes into patients' blood vessels.

Ebola replicates quickly and also sheds proteins that suppress the immune system, and the Hemopurifier is the only way to get rid of both, according to Joyce. He said the goal is to "augment the ability of the immune system to cure itself" of the virus.

"We thank the physicians in Frankfurt for allowing us the opportunity to treat this advanced-stage patient," Joyce said. "Details related to the patient's response to therapy will be disclosed once hospital officials deem it appropriate to report an update on the condition of this individual."

Aethlon Medical is the second San Diego firm to become involved in fighting this year's outbreak of Ebola, which has killed more than 4,000 people in Africa and led to the first reported infections in the United States.

Two Americans working in West Africa were given ZMapp, which is made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical in Sorrento Valley. Both patients recovered.

USA Today reported that Kentucky BioProcessing, which makes ZMapp under a contract with Mapp Biopharmaceutical, is ramping up production of the experimental drug.

Aethlon Medical, which began creating the Hemopurifier 10 years ago, recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin safety testing for the device. Joyce said in tests on around 100 HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C patients in India, it is well-tolerated for patients for up to six hours.

According to the firm, researchers at the Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have used the device to reduce the amount of Ebola in blood donated for testing.

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