World's first artificial kidney built using microchip - Watch how the device works!

The device may in the near future help kidney patients avoid dialysis.

Image credit: Vanderbilt University

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: In a first-of-its kind medical device, a team of US nephrologists has developed an implantable artificial kidney using microchip filters and living kidney cells that will be powered by a patient's own heart to help patients.

The device, which is being developed by Dr William H Fissell IV, nephrologist and associate professor of medicine from Tennessee-based Vanderbilt University, may in the near future help kidney patients avoid dialysis.

“We are creating a bio-hybrid device that can mimic a kidney to remove enough waste products, salt and water to keep a patient off dialysis," Fissell said.

The goal is to make it small enough, roughly the size of a soda can, to be implanted inside a patient's body.

Watch here - How the device works!

Video courtesy: Vanderbilt University/YouTube

The key to the device is a microchip. “It's called silicon nanotechnology. It uses the same processes that were developed by the microelectronics industry for computers," Fissell explained.

The chips are affordable, precise and make ideal filters.

But the microchips have another essential role beyond filtering.

"They're also the scaffold in which living kidney cells will rest," said Fissell.

Fissell and his team use live kidney cells that will grow on and around the microchip filters. The goal is for these cells to mimic the natural actions of the kidney.

Vanderbilt biomedical engineer Amanda Buck is using fluid dynamics to see if there are certain regions in the device that might cause clotting.

She uses computer models to refine the shape of the channels for the smoothest blood flow.

Then they rapidly prototype the new design using 3D printing and test it to make the blood flow as smoothly as possible.

Fissell says he has a long list of dialysis patients eager to join a future human trial. Pilot studies of the silicon filters can start in patients by the end of 2017.

Since this bio-hybrid device sits out of reach from the body's immune response, it is protected from organ rejection.

"The issue is not one of immune compliance, of matching, like it is with an organ transplant," said Fissell.

The device operates naturally with a patient's blood flow.

(With IANS inputs)