The implantable bioartificial kidney by the The Kidney Project edged closer to become a reality. The Project earned a $650,000 prize from KidneyX for its first demonstration of a functional prototype. A public–private collaboration between the US Department of Health and Human Services and the American Society of Nephrology, KidneyX was founded to “accelerate innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases.” According to reports, the bioartificial kidney aims to free patients from kidney diseases, dialysis machines and transplant waiting lists.
A nationwide partnership, The Kidney Project, paired the two most important parts of its artificial kidney — the hemofilter and the bioreactor — and successfully implanted a device, not bigger than a smartphone, for preclinical evaluation.
For this successful demonstration, the project was presented with KidneyX’s Phase 1 Artificial Kidney Prize and was among the top six winning teams selected.
According to reports, in recent years, The Kidney Project has successfully tested the hemofilter, which focuses on removing the waste products and toxins from blood, and the bioreactor, which imitates other key kidney functions, such as the balance of electrolytes in blood. These were performed as separate experiments.
The project saw the team combine these two units into a scaled-down version of the artificial kidney, and evaluate its performance. The results showed that the units worked hand in hand, powered just by blood pressure alone. The unit did not require blood thinning or immunosuppressant drugs.
As reported by goodnewsnetwork.org, Shuvo Roy, a faculty member of the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, said, “The vision for the artificial kidney is to provide patients with complete mobility and better physiological outcomes than dialysis.” He further added, “It promises a much higher quality of life for millions worldwide with kidney failure.”
The artificial kidney will not just duplicate the similar level of quality of life seen in kidney transplant recipients but will also help them to stop the need of taking immunosuppressants.
“Our team engineered the artificial kidney to sustainably support a culture of human kidney cells without provoking an immune response,” said Roy. “Now that we have demonstrated the feasibility of combining the hemofilter and bioreactor, we can focus on upscaling the technology for more rigorous preclinical testing, and ultimately, clinical trials,” said Roy, as quoted by goodnewsnetwork.org.
“This award is a testament to The Kidney Project’s bold vision and execution of a viable solution for millions of patients with kidney failure,” said UCSF School of Pharmacy Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, reported goodnewsnetwork.org.