No more dialysis, Scientists Have Developed A Bionic Kidney!

By | April 3, 2017

Natural remedies are indeed very powerful, but there are times when we have to turn to modern technology. Dialysis patients can’t live without the treatment, but their suffering is enormous.

A team of university scientists has developed the world’s first artificial kidney technology to be implanted in the body. Their bio-hybrid approach uses living kidney cells in tandem with a series of specialized microchips powered by the human heart to filter waste from the blood stream.

The National Kidney Foundation estimates that over 100,000 patients are on the waiting list for a donor kidney, and over 3,000 are added 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.

Transplanted organs from deceased or living donors must be carefully matched in order to avoid tissue rejection, but an artificial solution could potentially bypass these complications and be manufactured to better meet the demand.  To address this unmet need, William Fissell from Vanderbilt and Shuvo Roy from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) launched The Kidney Project.

“This project is about creating a permanent solution to the scarcity problem in organ transplantation. We are increasing the options for people with chronic kidney disease who would otherwise be forced onto dialysis,” Fissell told the UCSF News Center.

In November 2015, The Kidney Project received a $6 million grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). According to Fissell, the group also reached out to both the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the FDA in a more coordinated effort to bring the artificial kidney to clinical trial. Under a cooperative agreement with the NIBIB’s Quantum Program, the NIBIB will oversee funding for The Kidney Project’s research for another four years.


The prototype is roughly the size of a coffee cup and uses a combination of silicon nanotechnology and living kidney cells to filter blood. A series of 15 microchips serve as scaffolding for the living cells to grow on and around, creating a bio-hybrid device.

“We can leverage Mother Nature’s 60 million years of research and development and use kidney cells that fortunately for us grow well in the lab dish, and grow them into a bioreactor of living cells,” explained Fissell in a recent article published by Research News @ Vanderbilt.  Fissell described the device as a “Santa Claus System,” because it can reliably distinguish between waste chemicals and those nutrients a body should reabsorb.

Many of them must wait for years to get a kidney transplant and live normally, with seemingly no other solution on the horizon. However, there’s finally a light in the dark tunnel – scientists from the University of California at San Francisco, USA, have developed the world’s first bionic kidney which can replace damaged kidneys easily and effectively.

The bionic kidney is a perfect replica of our kidneys. It consists of numerous microchips and is moved by the heart. Like the normal kidneys, it is able to filter waste and toxins from the bloodstream.

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The project was unveiled by Willian Vanderbilt Fissels and Shuvo Roy from the University of California, offering renewed hope for millions of kidney dialysis patients. Now, some of you may be wondering “But, what if the body rejects it?”, but, the scientists assure us that the chances of rejection are zero! Incredible, right?

This is because the bionic kidney is made from renal cells. The first prototype is the size of a coffee cup and can balance the levels of sodium and potassium in the body while regulating blood pressure.

The project is wonderful news for any dialysis patient. In the beginning (November 2015), the scientists received $6 million from the Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and it’s safe to say that the money were well spent.

The scientists have high hopes for the bionic kidney, and the lead researcher, Dr. Victor Gura, says that the device will be available for sale in only 2 years.


video source: university of california

3 thoughts on “No more dialysis, Scientists Have Developed A Bionic Kidney!

  1. Ravi Shankar

    Where can we get such bionic kidney and get treatment? Please provide contact details

  2. Theresa

    Where do you collect the renal cells from? Human stem cells or cells from another animal?


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