The Kidney Project at UCSF, supported by funds courtesy John and Marcia Goldman Foundation and the NIH, is identified as a “transformative potential in treating chronic kidney failure.” Approximately 2 million people worldwide including 600,000 Americans suffer from chronic kidney failure and the numbers are growing rapidly partly due to the growing rate of diabetes. Dialysis, a very costly “solution,” is the primary form of treatment because fewer than 19% of people on the transplant list receive an organ and will need one or more replacements within a lifetime.
The Kidney Project is focused on a compartmented device which utilizes a silicone nano-filter in the first compartment to separate fluid and wastes, while keeping normal proteins and cells in the bloodstream. The second compartment would perform the other biological actions of a real kidney. The device is designed as an implant for the abdomen which attaches to the circulatory system and is powered by blood pressure – advantageous because electrical power, external pumps and / or tubes are unneeded. Even more important is the lack of dependency on immunosuppressant drugs which are necessary for transplants.
The research team is targeting clinical trials of the device in humans by 2017.
Flashback: UCSF’s Artificial Kidney Protoype Unveiled