Project presentations on the website

Every project supported by Gebert Rüf Stiftung is made accessible with a web presentation that informs about the core data of the project. With this public presentation, the foundation publishes the funding results achieved and contributes to the communication of science to society.




Für den Inhalt der Angaben zeichnet die Projektleitung verantwortlich.


Dieses von der Gebert Rüf Stiftung geförderte Projekt wird von folgenden weiteren Projektpartnern mitgetragen: Wyss Zurich Translational Center; ETH Zürich; hemotune AG

Project data

  • Project no: GRS-024/16 
  • Amount of funding: CHF 440'000 
  • Approved: 02.11.2016 
  • Duration: 04.2017 - 07.2019 
  • Area of activity:  Pilotprojekte, 1998 - 2018

Project management

Project description

Many clinical conditions such as intoxications, systemic infections or autoimmune diseases are caused by substances that are distributed in the blood circulation. The specific removal of these disease-causing factors from a patient’s blood would be in many cases the most direct way of cure. But current blood purification methods are not applicable to specifically and efficiently remove larger biomolecules such as bacterial toxins or antibodies directly from a patient’s blood.

After years of research at ETH Zurich and University Hospital Zurich, we want to develop and bring a breakthrough blood purification approach based on highly magnetic nanoparticles to the clinics. These tiny non-toxic nanomagnets are chemically equipped with specific binding agents against harmful disease-causing substances. The nanomagnets are administered to an extracorporeal blood circuit which is connected to the patient’s blood stream. There they selectively bind to the harmful compounds. Before the blood flows back to the patient, the magnets are removed along with the target substances by a highly efficient magnetic separator.

Based on our prototype for animal trials, the project focuses on the development of a functional prototype for human application. It will allow doctors and caregivers to perform the therapy in an easy and safe manner and bring us another step closer to implementation of this revolutionary approach into clinical practice.

What is special about the project?

The disruptive potential of this project lies within the application of a magnetic nanosorbent as a therapeutic procedure for blood purification. The approach opens up new possibilities in the field of selective blood purification and can overcome current limitations in terms of selectivity, efficiency and blood compatibility.
Focusing on hardware development, the Gebert Rüf project allowed the development of a human scale functional prototype that will now be further developed into a clinical prototype for the use in the intensive care units during first in man trial 2021.


In the first phase the requirements for the device were captured and the industry standards as well as the learnings from the animal prototype were evaluated to identify the right direction for the prototype development.
In the main project phase a functional human scale prototype was scaled up from hemotunes previous animal scale prototype and built. This prototype was tested preclinically together with hemotunes nanosorbent. Additionally, a second prototype was tested with intensive care nurses in the hospital setting to validate the usability of the device.
After completion of the GRS project, the prototype is further developed into a clinical device for evaluation in a first-in-man trial.


Herrmann, I. K.; Schlegel, A.; Graf, R.; Schumacher, C. M.; Senn, N.; Hasler, M.; Gschwind, S.; Hirt, A.-M.; Günther, D.; Clavien, P.-A.; et al. Nanomagnet-Based Removal of Lead and Digoxin from Living Rats. Nanoscale 2013, 5 (18), 8718–8723;
Herrmann, I. K.; Urner, M.; Graf, S.; Schumacher, C. M.; Roth-Z’graggen, B.; Hasler, M.; Stark, W. J.; Beck-Schimmer, B. Endotoxin Removal by Magnetic Separation-Based Blood Purification. Adv. Healthc. Mater. 2013, 2 (6), 829–835;
Schumacher, C. M.; Herrmann, I. K.; Bubenhofer, S. B.; Gschwind, S.; Hirt, A.-M.; Beck- Schimmer, B.; Günther, D.; Stark, W. J. Quantitative Recovery of Magnetic Nanoparticles from Flowing Blood: Trace Analysis and the Role of Magnetization. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2013, 23 (39), 4888–4896;
Bougas, L.; Langenegger, L. D.; Mora, C. A.; Zeltner, M.; Stark, W. J.; Wickenbrock, A.; Blanchard, J. W.; Budker, D. Nondestructive In-Line Sub-Picomolar Detection of Magnetic Nanoparticles in Flowing Complex Fluids. Sci. Rep. 2018, 8 (1), 3491.



Persons involved in the project

Lukas Langenegger, project manager, Wyss Zurich Translational Center / ETH Zürich; CEO hemotune
Corinne Hofer, CTO hemotune
Dr. Carlos Mora, COO hemotune

Last update to this project presentation  13.05.2022