Bioartificial Kidney May Become A Reality Soon

By Christie Abagon , Nov 22, 2016 12:38 AM EST

Dutch scientists and engineers have taken a big step towards developing a bionic kidney that could one day potentially replace the need for dialysis or transplantation.  They have tested a "living membrane" made with human cells that would be at the heart of a functional artificial kidney implant.

The Device Filtered Out Waste, The Same Way As A Real Kidney

The team presented the advancement at at ASN Kidney Week 2016 November 15-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.  They demonstrated this activity by attaching human renal proximal tubular epithelial cells on the surfaces of artificial hollow structures. These cultured cells indeed function as a living membrane and are able to actively remove the waste products.

"This study shows the successful development of a living membrane consisting of a reproducible ciPTEC monolayer on hollow fiber membranes, an important step towards the development of a bioartificial kidney device," said Professor Dimitrios Stamatialis from University of Twente in Netherlands.

The Bioartificial Kidney Could Replace The Painful Process Of A Dialysis

In the U.S., kidney is one of the commonly transplanted organs, wherein thousands of patients are put on a waiting list for a suitable kidney donor.  Another treatment for kidney disease is Dialysis, where it takes over the job of kidney if the organ fails to filter harmful wastes, salt and excessive fluids from the blood. The treatment itself does not hurt, but the needles going in can be painful.

The goal of the Bioartificial kidney is to eliminate the need of dialysis or transplant in millions of people with kidney failure, and hopefully pave the way to similar developments for bioartificial devices for other organs as well. 

"The strategies and methods of this work could be relevant to development of other bioartifical organs, such as bioartificial liver or bioartificial pancreas and organs on chips - such as kidney on chip, a lung on chip or a liver on chip," Stamatialis said.

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