Lakewood, Colorado, September 6, 2017 – Nephrologists and Bioengineers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of California San Francisco are making progress on bringing an implantable, artificial kidney a reality. The goal of the artificial kidney is to remove enough waste, salt, and water to prevent the need for dialysis. The implant uses nanotechnology to enable it to function. The implant is said to also be immune to rejection by the body because it sits outside of body’s immune response reach. The implant prototype is roughly the size of a coffee cup and uses a combination of silicon nanotechnology and living kidney cells to filter blood. The creators are hoping to begin human trials by the end of 2017.
The National Kidney Foundation estimates that over 100,000 patients are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant and more than 3,000 are added to the list each year. The average patient spends 3.6 years waiting for a viable transplant, and may be treated with dialysis while they wait, but only one in three dialysis patient survives longer than five years without a transplant.1