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The Bio-Artificial Kidney is one of the biggest technological medical advances that CKD patients are holding their breath for. In terms of treatment it sits somewhere between dialysis and transplantation in that it won't replace all the functionality of the kidney, but like dialysis it will cover the most critical functions. It will be like having a small dialysis machine inside your body, improving health by not being as intrusive as dialysis, and improving quality of life by not requiring you to be hooked to a dialysis machine.
That is the goal of this device. The challenge is getting it tested effectively and making it last for the long term. The clinical trials have been getting pushed back.
Do you think 2020 is when human trials will finally begin?
You can find more information at homepage for The Kidney Project at: https://pharm.ucsf.edu/kidney
An early video from 2010 describing the Bioartificial Kidney:
Another more recent video that appears to be more recent:
And one more where they talk to Dr. William Fissel. I beleive he is the partner to Dr. Roy:
And this is the FAQ page (off the same UCSF site):
The Kidney Project announced some interesting news related to the development of the Implantable Bio-Artificial Kidney on November 7, 2019 during their presentation at Kidney Week. I’m a little behind the ball with this because it took me a while to really know the implications of this news. And I had no idea that there was even a Kidney Week until I started seeing news filtering out about some of the presentations.
For those new to the bio-artificial kdiney, it is similar to the wearable artificial kidney technology, except it’s designed to be implanted into your body. It consists of two primary components, the hemofilter and the bio-reactor.
The big news coming out of Kidney Week is that they were able to implant the bioreactor component into large animals without ‘any signigicant safety’. There were no blood clots or immune system reactions.
This was a major hurdle that they needed to pass to get approval for clinical trials. Now with that taken care of, they can now go forward with testing the device in humans. What I don’t know is if this test is for only the bioreactor or if it’s for the combined device. Since the article states the hemofilter is still awaiting FDA approval, I suspect the first clinical trials will be just for the bioreactor portion. Either way, it is big news and a great step forward for a project that has been hitting it’s share of obstacles over the years.
It’s sounding like they will start signing people up sometime in the next 3 to 4 months, with the actual testing set to begin in 11 months. This being Novemeber, means we can hope to have the first test candidates to be signed up sometime around March or April of 2020, with the tests set to begin in October.
Obviously there can be setbacks in the timing, but this is good news regardless.
So where can I get information on this device?
Actual news releases on the bio-artificial kidney is far and few between, but refer to the Kidney Projects homepage (see the links at the bottom of this page) for all official information. Fortunately the last few weeks saw some some interesting updates for us thirsting for information. The afforementioned milestone achievement was the big news, but a few weeks before that Dr. Shuvo Roy of UCSF and Dr. William H. Fizzel of Vanderbilt University shared an update on the progress of the device during a live Q & A on Facebook.