IMPLANTABLE ARTIFICIAL KIDNEY
The team plans to be ready for clinical trials in five to seven years.
About 85,000 people need kidney transplants each year, but fewer than 20,000 kidneys are available.
To survive, people with chronic kidney disease must undergo dialysis for 4 hours at a time, multiple times each week. UCSF Professor of Bioengineering, Shuvo Roy, PhD, is leading a team of researchers to develop an implantable artificial kidney that could make dialysis a thing of the past.
The team has established the feasibility of an implantable model in animal models and plans to be ready for clinical trials in five to seven years.
End-stage renal disease, or chronic kidney failure, affects more than 500,000 people per year in the United States alone, and currently is only fully treated with a kidney transplant. That number has been rising between 5-7 percent per year, Roy said, in part because of the kidney damage associated with diabetes and hypertension.
Yet transplants are difficult to obtain: a mere 17,000 donated kidneys were available for transplant last year, while the number of patients on the transplant waiting list currently exceeds 85,000, according to the Organ Procurement ant Transplant Network.
Roughly 350,000 patients are reliant on kidney dialysis, Roy explained, which comes at a tremendous cost. The Medicare system alone spends $25 billion on treatments for kidney failure – more than 6 percent of the total budget – while the disease affects only 1 percent of Medicare recipients, he said. That cost includes almost $75,000 per patient each year for dialysis, according to the U.S. Renal Data System. >>> READ MORE