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New Artificial Kidney a Viable Alternative to Dialysis

By - Source: Co.Exist | B 21 comments
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A research team at led by UCSF professor Dr. Shuvo Roy may have found an alternative to kidney dialysis and a solution to kidney shortages in the U.S.

Organs are hard to come by. Just ask the 92,000 patients with renal failure who weren't able to find a donor kidney last year.

Dialysis is only an imperfect solution to kidney failure, as it replicates the kidneys’ waste functions, but cannot carry out any of the kidneys’ endocrine functions. Dialysis also limits mobility and carries with it an infection risk at the dialysis site.

Researchers at UCSF and nine other labs are in the process of creating an artificial kidney that could be used in case a donor organ is not available and as a better alternative to dialysis. The artificial kidney is a combination of real cells and nanofilters, a “mechanical device combined with cells,” describes project lead Dr. Shuvo Roy.

The artificial kidney can last indefinitely, as long as new cells are injected into the kidney every two years or so. Although the artificial kidney can’t produce any of the compounds that a real kidney can, the artificial kidney gets the job of waste filtering done without any hassle to the patient.

Dr. Roy hopes that the kidney will be on clinical trial by 2016, meaning that the artificial kidney won’t go on the market for quite a few years yet.

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  • 3 Hide
    acadia11 , April 25, 2012 12:29 AM
    We can produce the substances the kidney produce synthetically why can't we include it in the kidney and let it time release?
  • 6 Hide
    Supertrek32 , April 25, 2012 12:46 AM
    The quantities required would mean it would need to be refilled quite frequently - which would mean regular risk of infection. It would also make the device that much more complex and incorporate more points of failure. Add on the added R&D costs and you're easily tripling the price. If you could just take pills to replace the lost hormones, it would be much cheaper and safer.

    This is all assuming we can produce the needed compounds synthetically and that they can be introduced orally. I've no idea if we can or not.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 25, 2012 2:08 AM
    As of right now, we inject synthetic erythropoietin intravenously (through the dialysis machine during treatment) or subcutaneously to aid the body in the production of red blood cells since the kidney can no longer do so. As of right now, there is no oral form.

    I would love to see how much this "kidney" would cost and who would be eligible to receive it. All dialysis patients? Only transplant patients? It cost over $5000 per month per patient for dialysis. I have had patients on dialysis for over 20 years. Would this be more cost effective in the long run?
  • -1 Hide
    atminside , April 25, 2012 2:45 AM
    and will cost how much? and will insurance cover it?
  • 3 Hide
    jsc , April 25, 2012 3:13 AM
    Costs are always a factor. You expect researchers and doctors to work for minimum wage?

    Do you?
  • 0 Hide
    whatisupthere , April 25, 2012 3:27 AM
    acadia11We can produce the substances the kidney produce synthetically why can't we include it in the kidney and let it time release?

    There would be no easy way to refill the kidney with these substances when it runs out.
    They do replace some substances during dialysis but it doesnt work as well as when a kidney is in place. Probably other factors/substances involved.
  • 4 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , April 25, 2012 5:24 AM
    One of these days, we'll have a real Darth Vader.
  • 5 Hide
    Albyint , April 25, 2012 5:27 AM
    I have one kidney and my mother passed away due to renal failure. I would love to see this technology widely implemented in my lifetime.
  • 0 Hide
    headloser , April 25, 2012 6:01 AM
    We can't even safety nor make last longing artificial parts for the human body and yet we have send peoples to the moon. By the way, that a good thing about the moon part.
    WHO need the biology parts of our body are way superior than what we can even produced today.

  • 0 Hide
    lamorpa , April 25, 2012 1:05 PM
    acadia11We can produce the substances the kidney produce synthetically why can't we include it in the kidney and let it time release?

    I'll bet you they never thought of that, what with them spending all day every day working on the artificial kidney problem. Maybe you should send then your suggestion.
  • -1 Hide
    willard , April 25, 2012 1:28 PM
    whysobluepandabearI expect life to be more important than a made up monetary system. So yeah.

    It must be nice to live in fantasy land where doctors spend tens of thousands (or more) to get their degrees, spend a few more years of their life as an intern, then take a minimum wage job to ensure they stay in debt until they die.

    The people doing the research are people too, and they have needs. Money is how we fulfill those needs in the real world. This evil money has enabled research into things that likely never would have happened if there weren't huge monetary rewards for the pharmaceutical companies (not that they aren't taking advantage of us and screwing us at every turn too).

    It's an imperfect system, but it's the only one we've got.
  • 4 Hide
    daemox , April 25, 2012 1:55 PM
    Quote:
    Organs are hard to come by. Just ask the 92,000 patients with renal failure who weren't able to find a donor kidney last year.


    Seriously?
  • 0 Hide
    dmitche3 , April 25, 2012 3:19 PM
    But can I hack it? Is it open source? These are questions that tweeners need to know!! And now!
  • 2 Hide
    fuzznarf , April 25, 2012 4:06 PM
    whysobluepandabearIf costs were never a factor, we'd already have had this shit a LONG time ago. Thanks capitalism! You greedy C-sucking bastards.

    if you knew anything, you would realize that those greed capitalists would WANT to bring this to market as fast as possible so that they can make money!!
    Capitalism is what makes the world work. Ever wonder why this was created here and not North Korea?!?!
  • 0 Hide
    jaquith , April 25, 2012 7:05 PM
    Reminded me of the the "Bicentennial Man" and all of the synthetic organs. I hope it works - it'll save a lot of folks not to mention the side effects of dialysis!!! :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 25, 2012 7:27 PM
    Dialysis has been obsolete for the past 15 years: http://trishatorrey.com/2008/05/06/conspiracy-theories-reversing-kidney-disease-and-personalized-medicine/ If more people knew about it, then 90% of kidney failure could be prevented, and there'd be plenty of cadaver kidneys (35,000/yr) for the relatively few remaining kidney failure patients (10,000/yr, instead of 100,000/yr). So, no shortage of kidneys, and no waiting list. Prevention is always the cheapest way to get the best outcomes. But spreading the word has been hard, dialysis being such a lucrative procedure for healthcare. Each dialysis patient brings in $100K/yr for the 2-3 yrs that they're typically alive.
  • 0 Hide
    tntom , April 25, 2012 7:30 PM
    2016 seems a little optimistic! I with new memory and battery technology came that fast. This seems way more complicated. The real tissue in could be susceptible to disease, antibiotics, medications, rejection, and forming dangerous bacteria.
  • 0 Hide
    Kami3k , April 25, 2012 8:24 PM
    fuzznarfif you knew anything, you would realize that those greed capitalists would WANT to bring this to market as fast as possible so that they can make money!! Capitalism is what makes the world work. Ever wonder why this was created here and not North Korea?!?!


    You miss his point though idiot.

    Without everything being based off money we would be far more advanced. It wouldn't be a matter of "can we make money off of it?" it would be a matter of "does this benefit humanity?"


  • 0 Hide
    annymmo , April 28, 2012 12:16 PM
    whysobluepandabearAnd don't even say people wouldn't research without the incentive to become rich. Saying that, makes you look about as clueless as you are - seeing as some of the greatest minds in the world care not about money, rather than helping man kind and progressing civilization.


    Don't forget dying because of the shortcomings or lack of progress of current state of technology and civilization!!
  • 1 Hide
    masterbinky , April 30, 2012 3:32 PM
    whysobluepandabearDING DING DING.....we have a winner! Seriously, how this man gets it, but it escapes the whole lot of you, is just pathetic. Believe it or not, some things are more valuable than money... ...Screw anything you're about to come at me with about being anti-capitalism - I just hold life above all other monetary systems. I know, I'm a terrible person.


    LOL wtf?! "I just hold life above all other monetary systems" ...Careful you could get hurt if you fall off that high horse... Oh, and "OTHER" monetary systems, life is curency? So you endorse slavery? Yeah, I know nitpicking, but i'm nitpicking on ignorant statements from the paragon of morality. There is a reason currency is necessary The whole mess comes simply comes down to the fact people are either givers or takers. If everyone was a giver, it would be great, but all it takes is one if not a few takers to ruin any "all givers system." The simply reality is that there exists horrible people and they prevent many great things, *tear.* Oh and the little jesus comment, Nice straw man there. In your "jesus cures blindness 4 $" scenario, he gains the end result without performing any work, he can do something with nothing. He didn't need any supplies (Someone has to make stuff). If that was the case for everyone, then yes, we would not need capitalism, but that is not how things work for us mere mortals.

    You can say that the greatest minds in the world may not care about money, but so what? That is a stupid and pointless to point out. Yes, there are people that exist that would be doctors and scientists without any incentive. Is that enough people doing for the sake of doing good? Not likely, progress takes lots of work. I just want to reality check you here, most people don't do shit for free, so yes capitalism makes sense, or at least (When accepting the reality of human nature) the fundamentals make the best sense yet of any system.

    Screw fantasy land. How do you keep people from taking all the benefits of what your noble researchers have? The recieve something for their work right? I mean they have to eat/sleep/drink to live and hopefully not living under a tree. So what stops a bad person from claiming to do research and just take all the benefits without doing anything? Need someone to keep check on them huh? Well, they need the same essentials at least, but wait how do you keep the slacker from taking that position? Oh crap.. I think this is showing signs of something....

    Really though, your making a fundamental error by comparing unrelated things. Currency is imaginary, Life is not. Currency truly is only a made up marker for ever changing unit of work. The actual worth or value of anything, is based on the individual person. Is it worth pulling a weed for someone for a dollar? 1,000 weeds?[Don't be silly and say that research isn't work] People decide on the value of work to them and use currency as a place holder for trade of units of work. What your likely truly annoyed with is that it is not right that people take advantage of the fact that people highly value things they need to live, so wretched people will charge far more than the amount of work invested to create the items/service because the person has little choice and call it "Just Doing Business". Whysobluepandabear sounds exactly like those kids that used to be all "Anarchy! Screw the system!" It's a huge waste of time to point out that something isn't perfect. Nothing is perfect, everyone gets that, but if you don't have any better ideas (based in reality) and you're not trying to improve anything (ditto comment) you're wasting your time picking at something like social systems. Of course I guess you're feeling warm and fuzzy up there so it wasn't a complete waste right?
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