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Coming Soon: An Artificial Kidney for Patients With Renal Failure
Posted: May 24, 2016
Coming Soon: An Artificial Kidney for Patients With Renal Failure image

BY ERIC HANSEN One of the major challenges for multiple myeloma patients is kidney failure or impairment. The waste products of myeloma such as excess proteins and calcium from bone degeneration all put great pressure on the ability of our kidneys to filter out these impurities so we can continue to fight the disease.  It is estimated that some 50% of myeloma patients suffer from impaired or failed kidneys at some point, with dialysis being required for those with end stage renal disease (ESRD).   Since dialysis takes four hours three times a week in a hospital or clinic, anything that could enable patients to avoid this would be a major advancement. The NIH saw this need and funded a $6 million grant for researchers at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) to come up with a solution back in 2003. They created an implantable, artificial kidney that is designed to perform the same functions as our own kidneys, without the need for a donor, with no rejection issues and no fear of blood clotting.  It is truly an amazing invention. This device is set for human trials within the coming year.  The obstacles to getting such a machine into the clinic have been formidable, but the teams have come up with a device that uses our own tissues, computer microchips, and blood flow pressure from our own circulatory system to overcome these and other issues.  Now its time to prove the technology in patients. The picture above shows the relative size and location of the device as it will be when implanted in human subjects. For more details on the device, including a video, see the link below.

The author Jennifer Ahlstrom

about the author
Jennifer Ahlstrom

Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can contribute to cures by joining HealthTree Cure Hub and joining clinical research. Founder and CEO of HealthTree Foundation. 

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