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Artificial Mechanical Kidney

Artificial Mechanical Kidney

A new artificial mechanical kidney could eradicate kidney donations and dialysis…

A collective group of 10 different research teams has developed an artificial kidney that mimics the processes of a real human kidney, and could one day be used to eradicate donation and dialysis.

The mechanical kidney prototype, is powered by the patients’ own blood circulation, and uses a hemofilter to remove toxins.

artifical mechanical kidney Artificial Mechanical Kidney

Artificial Mechanical Kidney

The filter, also known as a biocartridge, is made up of thousands of tiny nanofliters which contain lab-engineered renal tubule cells that mimic the metabolic and water-balancing roles of the kidneys.

A large, room-sized version has already proved effective in treating the sickest patients, and the consortium of teams are confident that the processes used to make silicon chips could be applied to develop a device no bigger than a coffee cup.

The multi-institutional team, led by UCSF professor Shuvo Roy, formerly of the Cleveland Clinic, says the device could be implanted into the body without the need to immune suppressant medications, effectively allowing thousands to live a normal life. Roy said:

“This device is designed to deliver most of the health benefits of a kidney transplant, while addressing the limited number of kidney donors each year,”

Renal disease, or chronic kidney failure, affects over 500,000 people in American alone, and the only current treatments available are donor transplants or dialysis.

A typical dialysis schedule to filter the blood can be extremely tough on the patient, typically requiring at least three sessions per week, for 3 to 5 hours per session. The implantable mechanical kidney could reduce this toll paid by suffers.

Roy added:

“This could dramatically reduce the burden of renal failure for millions of people worldwide, while also reducing one of the largest costs in U.S. healthcare,”

Team has already designed an implantable model for animals, which should be ready for clinical trials in 5-7 years.


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  1. Rebecca Boyle: Researchers Announce First Implantable Artificial Kidney Prototype., 09/03/2010.
  2. Unknown: Model for Implantable Artificial Kidney to Replace Dialysis Unveiled. Science, 09/03/2010.

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