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First Artificial Kidney That Would Free People From Dialysis and Transplants Runs on Blood Pressure


The Kidney Project, UCSF

The Kidney Project’s implantable bioartificial kidney, one that promises to free kidney disease patients from dialysis machines and transplant waiting lists, took another big step toward becoming a reality: It won a $ 650,000 award from KidneyX for its first demonstration of a functional prototype of your implantable. artificial kidney.

KidneyX is a public-private partnership between the US Department of Health and Human Services and the American Society for Nephrology, founded to “accelerate innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney disease.”

The Kidney Project, a nationwide collaboration, combined the two essential parts of their artificial kidney, the hemofilter and the bioreactor, and successfully implanted the smartphone-sized device for preclinical evaluation.

For this breakthrough, the team was awarded the KidneyX Phase 1 Artificial Kidney Award and was one of six winning teams selected from an international field.

In recent years, The Kidney Project 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 in the blood, in separate experiments.

For the Artificial Kidney Award, the team joined the two units into a scaled-down version of the artificial kidney and evaluated their performance in a preclinical model. The units worked together, fed solely by blood pressure and without the need for anticoagulants or immunosuppressive medications.

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“The vision of the artificial kidney is to provide patients with full mobility and better physiological outcomes than dialysis,” said Roy, who is a faculty member of the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine. “It promises a much higher quality of life for millions of people around the world with kidney failure.”

Chronic kidney failure, also known as end-stage kidney disease, leads to the progressive and dangerous loss of kidney function. Most kidney failure patients must visit dialysis clinics several times a week to have their blood filtered, a time-consuming, uncomfortable and risky process.

A minority of patients live with transplanted kidneys, thanks to a pool of donated kidneys that are in constant high demand. But even these patients have to deal with lifelong immunosuppressive drugs that can have serious side effects.

The Kidney Project’s artificial kidney will not only reproduce the high quality of life seen in kidney transplant recipients – the “gold standard” of kidney disease treatment, according to Roy – but it will also spare them the need for immunosuppressants.

“Our team designed the artificial kidney to sustainably support a human kidney cell culture without eliciting an immune response,” said Roy. “Now that we have demonstrated the feasibility of combining the hemofilter and the bioreactor, we can focus on improving the technology for more rigorous preclinical testing and ultimately clinical trials.”

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The KidneyX Artificial Kidney Prize called on scientists and engineers to submit “continuous kidney replacement therapies that provide transformative treatment options beyond current dialysis methods,” a high bar that the UCSF artificial kidney is poised to exceed in the years. next years.

“This award is a testament to The Kidney Project’s bold vision and execution of a viable solution for millions of kidney failure patients,” said UCSF Dean of Pharmacy B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD.

Source: UCSF College of Pharmacy

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