The Kidney Project at UCSF

Uploaded by ucsfpharmacy on 06.10.2010

End-stage renal disease afflicts 1.5 to 2 million people worldwide. When dialysis is
available, it can be life-sustaining, but this short-term solution is time-consuming,
expensive, and does not replace all of the functions of a healthy kidney. Meanwhile,
a global shortage of donors means that hundreds of thousands of people die each year waiting
for a kidney transplant.
Scientists at UCSF are leading a research project with partners nationwide to help these
patients. They're working to develop a small implantable device that replicates many natural
functions of the kidneys. Super-efficient membranes created using silicon nano technology
will filter toxins from the blood without requiring pumps or electrical power while
the bioreactor containing specially engineered kidney tubule cells will perform other renal
activities, maintaining appropriate water volume in the blood, electrolyte balance,
and metabolic functions.
These two advanced technologies will make up a small bio-compatible device that attaches
to the circulatory system and removes toxins to the bladder as waste. The artificial kidney
will allow patients to live untethered from dialysis machines, eat and drink more normally,
and live their lives more freely. Completion of this ambitious project will profoundly
improve the quality and length of life for patients with kidney failure, as well as reduce
the cost and personal toll of this devastating disease.