US scientists design an artificial kidney with Nano filters that could replace dialysis
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The artificial kidney, about to enter its testing phase in humans, will combine electronic and organic elements. The size will be similar to human organs whose function will assume to same. This will be a huge improvement for the lives of those who need to connect several times a week to an external hemodialysis device because their kidneys fail.
At hemodialysis, the patient’s blood flows through a filter that removes harmful waste, minerals and unnecessary liquids, and the blood thus treated is returned to his body. Which helps to control blood pressure and maintain the balance of substances Such as potassium and sodium.
The new device being developed by a group of US universities within the Kidney Project. That can filter the blood of the person with kidney deficiency continuously and from within the body as it will be implanted in the patient.
This small bio-artificial kidney, intended to treat end-stage renal disease (ESRD), will offer new hope to those whose kidneys are no longer able to meet their body’s needs. Not required to waiting for kidney donar to perform a transplant, according to the proponents of this project.
A researcher at Vanderbilt University in the United States has been able to create a prototype of an implantable artificial kidney that includes a microchip with nanofilters and living cells that could replace the dialysis process of patients with kidney problems.
“We are creating a bio-hybrid device, using silicon nanotechnology, which can mimic a kidney to remove enough waste products, and keep patients away from dialysis,” says scientist William H. Fissell.
The key to the device is a microchip. Which is introduced into the artificial kidney, and composed of a series of holes. They are responsible for performing the proper filtering of kidney function. Each device, according to the researcher, will have a total of 15 layers of these microchips placed one above the other. In addition, that same chip contains live kidney cells, which helps to function similarly to the human organ.
On the other hand, the dynamics of fluids are essential for its operation. Thus, through a complex process, the artificial kidney can do functions naturally with the patient’s blood flow. “Our challenge is to take blood from a blood vessel and push it through the device,” says the researcher.
Another challenge for the device, whose creator hopes to start testing in patients starting in 2017, is to prevent rejection by the immune system of the same. Although Fissell ensures that the system will have no problem to operate within the human body.
The Vanderbilt nephrologist who constructs the implantable artificial kidney with the microchip filters
Nephrologist Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Adjunct Professor Dr. William H. Fissell IV of the remedy, is making major progress in a first-of-its-kind device to free patients from the dialysis kidney. He is creating an implantable artificial kidney with microchip filters and live kidney cells that will be motor-driven by a patient’s own heart.
“We are creating a bio-hybrid device that can mimic a kidney to remove enough waste, salt and water to store a dialysis patient,” told Fissell.
Fissell says the goal is to make it quite small, roughly the size of a soda can, to be implanted into a patient’s body.
Nanotechnology behind artificial kidney
The key to the device is a microchip.
“It’s called silicon nanotechnology. It uses the same processes that were developed by the microelectronics industry for computers, “told Fissell.
Chips are affordable, accurate and make ideal filters. Fissell and his people are designing each hole in the filter one by one based on what they want hole to do. Each device layered on top of each other that will hold roughly fifteen microchip.
But microchips have another essential role beyond filtration.
“They are also the scaffold on which live kidney cells will rest,” said Fissell.
Liver Kidney Cells
Fissell and his team use live kidney cells in which it will grow and around the microchip filters. The goal is for these cells to mimic the natural actions of the kidney.
“We can leverage Mother Nature’s 60 million years of research and development and use kidney cells that fortunately for us grow well in the laboratory dish, and grow them in a bioreactor of living cells that will be the only” dad’s membrane Noel “. “In the real world: Only the membrane know which chemicals have been naughty and which have been pleasant. Then they can reabsorb the food their body needs and discard the waste that their body desperately wants to get rid of, ” told Fissell.
Avoid the rejection by the organ
Because this bio-hybrid device sits outside the scope of the body’s immune response, it is protected against rejection.
“The issue is not one of immune matching, to correspond with, as he is with an organ transplant,” told Fissell.
How the bio-artificial kidney works
The operative device naturally with the flow of blood of a patient.
“Our challenge is to take blood into a blood vessel and activate it through the device. We must transform that unstable pulsating blood flow into the arteries and move it through an artificial device without clotting or damaging it. ”
Dynamics of fluids
And this is where the biomedical Amanda Dollar comes from the Vanderbilt Technical Rep in. The Dollar is using fluid dynamics to see if there are certain regions in the device that could cause clotting.
“It’s fun to come in and work in a field that I love, the fluid mechanics, and get to see him help someone,” said the Dollar.
She uses computer models to refine the shape of the channels for smoother blood flow. Then quickly prototype the new design using three-dimensional printing and test it to make blood flow as smooth as possible.
Future aspect for Human
Fissell says he has a long filet of dialysis patients eager to join a future human judgment. Pilot studies of silicon filters could begin in patients at the end of 2017.
“My patients are absolutely my heroes,” told Fissell. “They come back again and again and validate a crushing burden of the disease because they want to live. And they are willing to put all that at risk of another patient’s motive. ”
Investment of Federal Govt.
The National Institutes of Health awarded a four-year, $ 6 million grant to Fissell and his research partner Scientist Shuvo Roy, of the University of California at San Francisco. The two researchers are long-term collaborators in this research. In 2003, the kidney project attracted its first NIH funding, and in 2012 the Food and Drug Administration selected the project for a fast-track approval program. The work is used by the NIH grant 1U01EB021214-01.
Use of live kidney cells
The microchips are affordable, precise and allow to make ideal filters, according to Fissell and his team. Who are currently designing the pores of the filter, one by one, according to the function they want to meet each of these holes.
“Each device will have approximately 15 layers of filtering microchips, one on top of the other, which will also be the scaffold in which live kidney cells will be housed,” says Fissell.
Fissell and his group will use live kidney cells that will grow on and around microchip filters, with the aim of emulating the natural actions of the kidneys, according to Vanderbilt University. “These cells will grow and form a membrane that will be able to distinguish which chemicals are harmful and which are beneficial, to filter them and then the body can reabsorb the nutrients it needs and dispose of the waste that needs to be disposed of,” explains the doctor Fissell.
According to its creators, this device is beyond the reach of the immune response, i.e. the body’s own defenses, which the body does not reject.
It will work naturally with the patient’s own blood flow. One of the biggest challenges is to take blood from a blood vessel and push it effectively through the device for the researchers.
Vanderbilt researchers explain that they must handle and transform the usually pulsatile and unstable bloodstream of the arteries, so that it can move through an artificial device without clots or damage.
Dr. Fissell says he has a long list of dialysis people eager to participate in the first trial, which according to the Kidney Project could begin in late 2017 and be completed by 2020.
For the time being, researchers continue to fine tune the details for its operation.
The Artificial Kidney Project maintains a Facebook page that is a great page to connect with the development team and others in the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) community.
If anybody interest to take participate of clinical trials for the bio-artificial kidney, you may complete this form to submit your information into this project database. Of course they maintain privacy of each data.