DaVita® Stories

The Self-Regulating Bioartificial Kidney, Part 1: Anatomy of the Device

With the growth of donor chains and other transplant opportunities, more patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) are receiving transplants, experiencing new ways to live with their kidney failure and achieving better outcomes. In the future—thanks to a convergence of key breakthrough technologies and the research and work of, most notably, nephrologists William Fissell, MD, and David Humes, MD, and bioengineer and UCSF pharmacy professor Shuvo Roy, PhD—patients may gain even further access to kidney transplants through bioartificial kidneys.

The Kidney Project

Dr. Fissell, Dr. Humes and, later, Dr. Roy began work on a bioartificial kidney in the late 90s and early 2000s. The project languished for a period of time and was resurrected with such great energy in 2007 that in 2015 Fissell and Roy officially launched The Kidney Project. Its goal was “to create a small, surgically implanted and free-standing bioartificial kidney to treat ESRD.”

Although the Kidney Project and its technology are still at an early stage of development, the bioartificial kidney has recently been moving through porcine trials. It is possible that human trials could start in the near future, potentially leading to next steps and, ultimately, FDA approval. The timeframe for this is dependent on a number of events but, if all goes well, approval could occur within the early part of the next decade.

To continue reading, check out the DaVita Medical Insights blog for the rest of Dr. Bryan Becker’s take on the fascinating future of kidney care. 

DaVita Stories Team

DaVita Stories Team

The DaVita Stories Team is a group of teammates excited to bring you the latest news from around the Village and show you what makes DaVita a special place.