Artificial Kidney to Free Patients from Dialysis

Here is good news for those who suffer from chronic or end-stage kidney disease and have to wait long for a donor kidney to get renal transplant. Scientists have invented a fist-sized surgically implantable artificial kidney that would function like a natural one. The device, a promising alternative to kidney transplant has now entered the phase of clinical trials before getting approved by the FDA, according to Dr. Shuvo Roy, co-inventor and researcher from the University of California, San Francisco. It is expected to come in the market by the end of the decade.

The new artificial kidney functions better than the conventional dialysis. The device would not only work as a dialysis machine but cell membrane from a cadaveric kidney injected along with the device would ensure a continuous supply of nutrition. The artificial kidney uses bio-hybrid approach in which bio-reactor is primed with living kidney cells. The patient does not require any anti-coagulant drugs. It does not require any battery and is powered by the patient’s heart.

Said to be a boon for kidney transplant patients, the device is yet to go through the safety and efficacy tests. The safety test would be done on a dozen patients while the efficacy tests on over hundred patients.

Though the cost of the new artificial kidney is difficult to speculate, researchers believe it would be still less than a kidney transplant and dialysis.

The shelf life of the device is yet to be ascertained. Dr. Roy believes, even if the device lasts one or two years, easy access to a replacement would have to be ensured.

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