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  Date: 07/07/2013

Artificial wearble/implantable kidney is close to reality within few years

When the human body blood-filter organ Kidney fails, it is becoming difficult for the patients to maintain good health continuously and they are becoming less productive, because the dialysis is expensive and need hospitalization. The best alternative is human kidney replacement, but is difficult to get a donor. The new development in this area now is development of implantable or a wearable artificial Kidney which stays with the patient. This makes the people with kidney failure have better quality of life. The researchers are getting very close to this technology in making it available sooner, (possibly around 2020!). The artificial kidney device also called implantable Renal Assist Device (iRAD) to integrate thousands of microscopic filters and bioreactor to do the kidney's job. The nanoscale semiconductor fabrication technology is highly employed by researching in making nano filters.

Nano technology researcher CEA-Leti along with its other partners are developing an artificial kidney, where the device works in real-time, continuous, multiparametric monitoring of the patient. The sensors developed by the Leti and its partners monitor the patient continuously to detect any device anomalies and a trend analysis on the health status of the patient, which would be used to improve treatment. The artificial machine kidney in a rectangular box/holder is worn on the patient’s side avoids required periodic dialysis treatments.

“NEPHRON+ presents an ideal system for dialysis outside a hospital or clinic because it improves blood clearance and provides ongoing monitoring of the device and patients, who would gain a level of freedom and convenience they don’t have today,” said Gilles Marchand, head of Leti’s materials and interfaces chemistry laboratory “This system is another primary example of Leti’s continuing innovation in sensors and our commitment to turning technological advances into real products.”

Leti says its contribution also will include the design, development and the integration of the electrochemical platform in the artificial kidney. Leti has said it has focused on miniaturizing the sensors to embed them in the device, as well as improving the electronic board that converts the sensor electrical signals in a ready to-use concentration. To achieve this, researchers developed an electrochemical platform including five biocompatible ionic selective electrodes (ISE) able to monitor ion concentrations, as well as a reference electrode, a temperature sensor and an EPROM to store parameters (calibration curves), states Leti.

In another similar development wearable artificial kidney is being developed by Blood Purification Technologies Inc. based in Beverly Hills, Calif. The first trial of this device conducted in Seattle in collaboration with Dr. Larry Kessler, professor and chair of the Department of Health Services in the University of Washington School of Public Health, and Dr. Jonathan Himmelfarb, professor of medicine, and director of the Kidney Research Institute at UW.

Also Dr Shuvo Roy at the University of California San Francisco and his development team have come out with a prototype and are on fast-track research to develop implantable kidney at the earliest.
Author: Srinivasa Reddy N
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