Development of a surgically implantable, artificial kidney

RoyShuvoDevelopment of a surgically implantable, artificial kidney – a promising alternative to kidney transplantation or dialysis for people with end-stage kidney disease – has received a $6 million boost, thanks to a new grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), one of the National Institutes of Health, to researchers led by UC San Francisco bioengineer Shuvo Roy, PhD, and Vanderbilt University nephrologist William Fissell, MD.

“We aim to conduct clinical trials on an implantable, engineered organ in this decade, and we are coordinating our efforts with both the NIH and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” Roy said.

Roy is a professor in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences in the Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, and technical director of The Kidney Project at UCSF, a multi-institutional collaboration. The Kidney Project team has prototyped and begun testing key components of the coffee-cup-sized device, which mimics functions of the human kidney.

Roy and Fissell will present updates on development of the device November 3-8 at Kidney Week 2015 in San Diego, part of a major meeting of the American Society of Nephrology.

NIBIB is overseeing and funding the continuation of their work for four years under a cooperative agreement through its Quantum Program, created to support the development of “biomedical technologies that will result in a profound paradigm shift in prevention, detection, diagnosis, and/or treatment of a major disease or national public health problem.” This is the second major grant the researchers have received through the program.

In part because the U.S. population has grown older and heavier and is more likely to develop high blood pressure and diabetes, conditions often associated with kidney failure, the number of individuals diagnosed with kidney failure is growing year-over-year and has risen 57 percent since 2000, according to the National Kidney Foundation. More than 615,000 people now are being treated for kidney failure. U.S. government statistics indicate that kidney failure costs the U.S. healthcare system $40 billion annually and accounts for more than six percent of Medicare spending.

The waiting list for kidney transplants in the United States has grown to more than 100,000 people. The number of available kidneys has remained stagnant for the past decade, and only about one in five now on the list is expected to receive a transplant…

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