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09-07-2010, 08:39 PM #1
Man-made kidney could do away with dialysis, donor organs
TweetAn artificial kidney implant that would work as well as a natural organ is in the offing. The first prototype of the device just unveiled by the US researchers could do away with the need for dialysis or donor organs.
The device comprises thousands of microscopic filters to remove toxins from the blood and a bio-reactor to mimic the metabolic and water-balancing roles of a real kidney, reports the Daily Mail.
The implant is being developed jointly by engineers, biologists and physicians led by Shuvo Roy at the University of California, San Francisco.
The treatment has already been proven to work for the sickest patients using a room-sized external model.
The process relies on the body’s blood pressure to perform filtration without needing pumps or an external electrical power supply.
Roy plans to apply silicon fabrication technology, along with specially engineered compartments for live kidney cells, to shrink the current device to the size of a coffee cup.
Tissue engineering will be used to grow renal tubule cells to provide other biological functions of a healthy kidney.
This would remove the need for immune suppressant medications after it was implanted, allowing the patient to live a more normal life.
"This could dramatically reduce the burden of renal failure for millions of people worldwide."