The bionic kidney has entered the human testing phase. It is the first of its kind to combine electronic and organic elements and will be a similar size to an actual kidney.
This medical advancement means a huge improvement in the quality of life for those that depend on dialysis to survive. In dialysis, the patient’s blood is pumped through a machine that filters harmful waste, minerals, and unnecessary fluids. After filtration, the blood is returned to the patient’s body, helping control the blood pressure and maintaining the proper balance of chemicals like potassium and sodium.
The bionic kidney is being developed by an American group called ‘The Kidney Project’ and will be able to filter the blood of a patient with renal impairment continuously, instead of requiring constant, long visits to the hospital. The bionic kidney is implanted in the body which means the patient is able to live their life as normal.
The new artificial kidney will offer new hope to those whose kidneys can no longer meet their body’s needs and who await a transplant.
The implant will feature about 15 microchips featuring pores which will ‘act as a scaffold for a membrane of living kidney cells that mimic the natural functions of the kidney’, according to Professor Fissell, kidney specialist and associate professor at Vanderbilt University in America.
The device requires no power to function, as it utilises the power of the patient’s heart to work. The natural blood flow and pressure within the body is sufficient in guiding the blood through the filter.
This innovation is one perfect example of a marriage between organic and technology to advance medical science. Human trials began late 2017 and are expected to run until 2020.
Check out the video above for more on this incredible innovation.