Layman’s summary: Now, after more than 20 years of work, one team of doctors and researchers is close to offering patients an implantable artificial kidney, a bionic device that uses the same technology that makes the chips that power your laptop and smartphone. Stacks of carefully designed silicon nanopore filters combine with live kidney cells grown in a bioreactor. The bundle is enclosed in a body-friendly box and connected to a patient’s circulatory system and bladder—no external tubing required.
Publication date: October 2017
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Author: Megan Molteni

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Dr. Fisher’s notes:

Researchers led by UC San Francisco bioengineer Shuvo Roy and Vanderbilt University nephrologist William Fissil are developing a surgically implantable artificial kidney that would offer an alternative to dialysis or transplantation.

“We’re creating a bio-hybrid device that can mimic a kidney to remove salt and water to keep a patient off dialysis,” Dr. Fissil explains. “The implantable artificial kidney, about the size of a soda can, contains microchip filters and living kidney cells, and will be powered by the patient’s own heart.”