Implantable Artificial Kidney May Soon Become Possible

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When a kidney failure occurs, a kidney transplant may be the last straw one can get. But it is still difficult for many patients to receive a transplant immediately. Many have to wait, wait, wait and take dialysis treatment, which can be bad for their long-term health.



Good thing is that this may soon be changed, as in the future, patients may be able to have an artificial kidney which is both healthy and affordable.


5 or 10 years of waiting for transplant


Nowadays, as the rates of kidney disease are growing quickly, nearly 750,000 Americans are suffering from end-stage renal disease, many of which need a kidney transplant to survive. This leads to an urgent shortage of kidneys for transplant.



As of 2016, 21,000 patients were able to get a transplant in the U.S., while 100,000 patients were waiting for transplant, which may require 5 to 10 years.


During their waiting, most patients have to undergo long-term dialysis treatment regularly in order to survive. Dialysis can help clear toxins from their blood, but it cannot replace many essential kidney functions. Patients remaining alive after five years’ dialysis count only 35% on average.


A milestone for kidney treatment




The UC San Francisco scientists have implanted an artificial kidney containing human kidney cells into pigs, without causing immune reaction or blood clots. The success of the experiment gets ready for future trials on human beings.


So, what are the benefits of this artificial kidney?


First, artificial kidney can do what dialysis can do, removing toxins from the blood with a blood filtration system. It can also replace many essential kidney functions with human kidney cells, including adjusting salt levels, maintaining blood pressure, and producing essential hormones.



Second, artificial kidney may be healthier than real kidney transplant. After transplant, patients have to take immune-suppressing drugs for life to prevent rejection, because the transplanted cells come from someone else.


"These drugs not only expose patients to infection and other harmful side-effects but have been shown to directly harm transplanted cells and organs, eroding the therapeutic benefit of transplants over time," said project co-leader Shuvo Roy. Artificial kidney may be able to reduce side effects.


Third, artificial kidney is more affordable for patients than kidney transplant and drugs.



Currently, Medicare in the U.S. covers dialysis for life, but only covers immune-suppressing drugs for three years after transplant. Many patients don’t have enough money to afford them after the first three years. Some even lose the new organ in the end. If Medicare can cover artificial kidney, it will benefit more people.


To conclude, scientists are planning to further study whether the artificial kidney can replace a failed kidney in animals. If it is successful, they may start human trials. In the foreseeable future, artificial kidney may really save millions of people.

6 Answers

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.
I am a dialysis patient and very interested in your artificial kidney. Please contact me asap 614 571 9450. Thanks for your time.

Matthew Thornhill retired Rn
Hi, the artificial kidney is still waiting for animal transplant experiments, and only after its success can human trials be started. The study is undergoing at University of California, San Francisco. You can get more info in the UCSF website.
Sign me up bitches!
Rude = undeserving
Sorry God.
I want to try a kidney transplant my creatinine is too high and my eGFR is too low.
I want to try an artificial kidney or be in a trial
I hope my uncle can too.
I am also interested in any future human clinical trials. I am a 51 yo male and have been on dialysis for 2 and half years including a year of home hemo. I can be reached at 301 741 0901. Thank you for this amazing invention.
feel sorry for you but if the kidneys are waiting for animal trials then there's a LONG way to go before applied to human... still need to wati.
i am interested in the artificial kidney program/trial for my brother in law.  he is currently trying to get on the list for a transplant, but i was wondering if this would be an option for him.
Would like to try the new artificial kidney