Artificial Kidney May Be Ready for Human Trials This Year

kidney

At any given time, an estimated 93,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant. The wait can take as long as 5 to 10 years. And in some cases, a person with kidney failure can’t wait that long. But without a kidney from a donor, is there any other option for people on dialysis? Yes.

Later this year, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of California San Francisco expect to begin human trials using an artificial kidney to help those on dialysis. It’s current design is about the shape of a soda can and would be implanted into a patient.

Dr. William Fissell IV and Dr. Shuvo Roy have been working on the device for more than a decade. And it’s current design would simply be powered by the patient’s heart and normal blood flow. The artificial kidney is a masterpiece of high-tech research that uses nanotechnology, living kidney cells, and stacks of microchips programmed to remove waste.

Each evolution of the artificial kidney has been produced in a lab using 3-D printing technology. Researchers have been using computer models to predict how the artificial kidney would assimilate and function once a patient receives the implant. And it appears that researchers are close to beginning human trials.

Kidney disease and kidney failure, and lack of available kidneys for transplants has become such a serious issue that two public health organizations are backing the research. The National Institute of Health awarded a $6 million, four-year grant to help further the research. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also backed the program to develop an artificial kidney.

If lab trials prove successful, waiting for a kidney transplant won’t be the only option for those living with kidney failure. Until then, you need to do everything you can to protect your health when you’re on dialysis. And managing your diet is a big part of that. You need to limit the amount of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus you consume. And we’ve made it easy by creating a full menu of Dialysis-Friendly meals. Enjoy.