Scientists Have Developed a Bionic Kidney After 20 Years of Trying, and It’ll Provide Relief for Thousands of Patients
After many years of research and tests, scientists are finally about to solve one of healthcare’s biggest issues for people suffering from kidney disease. They managed to create a bionic kidney that is going to become one of the biggest achievements in science. Though the testing in humans is yet to start, there is already a big list of people willing to take part in the first trials of this artificial kidney.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, about 10% of the world population suffers from chronic kidney disease and about 2 million people receive treatment for kidney failure and have to go through dialysis on a regular basis just to stay alive.
Our kidneys serve as blood filters eliminating excess fluid as well as harmful waste from our bodies. During the process of dialysis, special device functions instead of the kidneys, purifying blood due to the kidneys’ inability to perform their work properly.
If the device were external, patients would have to visit the hospital and get the treatment every other day to get their blood cleaned. The bionic kidney developed by a group of US scientists is to be implanted into patients’ bodies, therefore, functioning and purifying the blood continuously without having to visit hospitals so often.
The biggest element of this first-of-its-kind device is the microchip that is installed into it which is responsible for the filtration process. These chips contain live kidney cells which make it work similarly to the human kidney. The bionic kidney will have about 15 layers of these chips, making the filtration process as good as it can be.
Dr. Fissell is sure that the body won’t reject the device because it’s a bio-hybrid innovation that contains living kidney cells grown in the lab and is out of reach of the body’s immune response. The scientist himself says, “The issue is not one of immune compliance of matching like it is with an organ transplant.”
Scientists are still improving the bionic kidney, testing it with a different number of microchips. They expect the project to show its first results of operating in human bodies by the year 2020.
The main symptoms of having kidney disease are:
- constant fatigue;
- swollen feet;
- unexplained itchiness;
- puffed eyes and face;
- and a reduced amount of urine.