Implantable Artificial Kidney

Current clinical approaches to treat patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) include hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and renal transplantation. Dr. Kurtz working with US Kidney Research Corporation and University of Arkansas have designed a novel dialysis-free and waterless artificial kidney technology that has the potential to mimic the filtration properties of the renal glomerulus and the ion/water transport processes in the nephron. Importantly, the device does not utilize external water/dialysate or living cells. This waterless technology creates more than a replacement for dialysis, it allows increased freedom for patients. 

Since the technology does not utilize a dialysate, the portable device we have created is self-enclosed and can ultimately be taken anywhere and operated without having to worry about where to source or dispose of dialysate and water. Additionally, for providers, our waterless technology will completely eliminate the massive water infrastructure and associated payor and provider costs currently needed to perform standard dialysis treatments. The technologic advances and approaches employed in this proposal can be potentially utilized in various configurations that include standalone, portable and implantable artificial kidney devices to treat patients with compromised kidney function. The device couples for the first time newly designed nanocellulaose ultrafiltration membranes and multiple mesh activated wafer electrodeionization (AWEDI) technology for ion transport that has been patented, which  responds dynamically using ion sensors to changes in blood chemistry.

The technology is a paradigm shift in the field of renal replacement therapy that compares with the introduction of dialysis as a therapeutic modality over 70 years ago. We have initiated animal testing of our current portable artificial kidney device and have produced the world’s first artificial urine not produced by dialysis.  In approximately two years we anticipate having completed the proof-of-concept phase of animal testing in preparation for the FDA and clinical trials. The novel technology we have developed in our waterless portable artificial kidney device will be used to create for the first time a completely implantable artificial kidney that simulates the filtration and ion transport properties of the native kidney. We are also working on devices using this technology that will regenerate dialysate in patients on PD and HD that will significantly decrease the number of solutions needed per treatment.

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The video gives an overview of a new dialysis-free and waterless artificial kidney technology that will  be used in  portable and implantable devices and represents the first major innovation in renal replacement therapy since the development of dialysis over 75 years ago.