Researchers in the United States develop an artificial kidney that could prevent people living with kidney disease from needing a dialysis machine. It would also help all long-standing transplant patients.
This initiative is known as Project Kidney and is spearheaded by scientists from the University of California, San Francisco.
The team in charge combined the two essential parts of their artificial kidney, the hemofilter and the bioreactor, and succeeded in implanting the device the size of a smartphone for its preclinical evaluation.
In recent years, scientists have successfully tested the hemofilter, which removes waste products and toxins from the blood, and the bioreactor, which replicates other kidney functions, such as electrolyte balance.
“The vision of the artificial kidney is to provide patients with complete mobility and better physiological outcomes than dialysis,” said Dr. Shuvo Roy.
“It promises a much higher quality of life for millions of people with kidney failure around the world,” he added.
Chronic kidney failure, also known as end-stage kidney disease, involves the progressive loss of kidney function.
Most kidney failure patients have to visit dialysis clinics several times a week to have their blood filtered, a time-consuming, uncomfortable and risky process.
The kidney that the authors develop will be able to reproduce the high quality of life of kidney transplant recipients and will prevent patients from taking immunosuppressants.