In the United States, a team of scientists has developed the first technology in the world capable of designing an artificial kidney that can be implanted in the body. The invention is not 100% artificial, but a hybrid that uses living kidney cells in conjunction with a series of specialized microchips fed by the human heart to filter waste from the bloodstream.
The bionic kidney is made of a series of organic and electronic elements that manage to look very similar to a human kidney. At the moment it is in a test phase in people and so far it has been 100% successful.
Undoubtedly, this scientific technological advancement would improve the quality of life of all those people who live with kidney problems and who must undergo hemodialysis in order to purify their blood and stay healthy.
This new device will mean a significant reduction in the pain that patients in hemodialysis pass, since they no longer need more than one catheter to be connected to clean their blood
The device has been created to efficiently treat patients until their final stage of the disease. It does not measure more than a can of drink and its size is perfect so that it is installed in the human body without any inconvenience. It will undoubtedly be the hope for all those patients who are waiting for the donation of a human kidney.
“The important thing of this device is a microchip, in which the same processes of silicon nanotechnology are used, these were developed by the microelectronics industry for computers and all computer equipment”
– Dr. Fissell, médico encargado de la investigación.
In hemodialysis, the patient is connected by a catheter to a machine that helps to filter all the blood from the body through a filter that removes the harmful waste, which we normally eliminate through the urine. In this way blood is returned to the patient’s body, helping to control blood pressure and maintain the proper balance of chemicals, such as potassium and sodium.
The new artificial kidney will offer new hope to people whose kidneys can no longer filter toxins from the body and who are waiting for a transplant. “We are creating a bio-hybrid device that can mimic the kidney capable of eliminating enough waste products so that the patient can do without dialysis,” said Dr. William H. Fissell, nephrologist and professor at Vanderbilt University (www.vanderbilt.edu) in Nashville (EU).
The kidney will be surgically implanted and incorporates a silicon microchip that will function as a filter, as well as living kidney cells that, according to Dr. Fissell, “will work under the impulse of the patient’s heart, filtering the bloodstream that passes through it.”
According to the nephrologist, “each device will have approximately fifteen layers of filtering microchips, one on top of the other, which will also be the scaffold on which the living kidney cells that will be part of this device will be housed.” It will be composed of biological and technological components and its size will be similar to that of a small can of soda. According to its creators, this device is beyond the reach of the immune response; that is to say, the defenses of the own organism, with which the body will not reject it, what in addition would mean that the patient does not require to take immunosuppressant a very powerful drugs that if taken at long term can cause some other health problems.
It is estimated that there are millions of patients worldwide on the waiting list to get a kidney from a donor, and several thousand more are added every year. The average patient spends 3.6 years waiting for a viable transplant, although it depends on each country, and can be treated with dialysis while waiting, but only one in three dialysis patients survive more than five years without a transplant.
Hopefully soon there will be more patients benefiting from this program and we remember that there is nothing more important than taking care of our health.