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Medtech Impact on Wellness

An implantable bioartificial kidney system that does what dialysis can’t do; this is what’s being developed as part of The Kidney Project at University of California, San Francisco and Vanderbilt University.

Press play to learn:

  • How healthy kidneys function, and what dialysis does
  • What causes the symptoms associated with advanced kidney failure
  • What to consider in terms of the tradeoff between a kidney transplant and the need for immunosuppressants, and a bioartificial kidney and no need for immunosuppressants

Lynda Frassetto is Professor Emeritus of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology at the University of California, San Francisco. She spends some of her time taking care of nephrology patients, and some of her time working with William Fissell, MD and Shuvo Roy, PhD, who lead The Kidney Project. Dialysis can keep patients alive by filtering toxins out of the blood, which is what healthy kidneys do. But what happens to the fluid after it’s been filtered?

In healthy bodies, the fluid goes through kidney tubules, where it responds to chemical signals which might dictate that more water or salt be resorbed, and/or that more creatinine, phosphorus, urea, or other acids be removed. After the toxins have been filtered, the fluid is subjected to the feedback systems of the body, which is essential to keeping the body’s water and chemical levels where they should be. This is something that dialysis simply cannot accomplish, but it’s not too great a task for the artificial system being created; this system has renal tubular cells, so it can keep the body’s water and chemistry levels in check, which translates to better quality of life for patients.

Press play for the details of all this and more, including where in the body it is placed, how it stacks up against transplanted kidneys in terms of normal kidney function, when it might receive FDA approval for testing in humans, and what the first clinical trials will look like.

Visit to learn more.

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