A dialysis alternative for children in kidney failure
Children routinely require hemodialysis for severe kidney failure. However, all commercially-available hemodialysis and renal replacement systems are geared for adults and require significant blood volumes to function, causing problems for small pediatric patients including cardiovascular instability during treatments and an increased need for transfusions.
We are developing an artificial kidney to treat children requiring acute hemodialysis and hemofiltration-based continuous renal replacement therapy without the challenges posed by traditional systems developed for use in adults. The device consists of a miniature blood filter combined with a bioreactor containing human kidney cells. When connected to the circulatory system, the device will perform the role of a healthy kidney, removing waste from the blood and replacing the functions of the renal tubule cell mass. The silicon filters used in the device are more efficient than those used in conventional dialysis and require minimal blood volumes. Furthermore, the cell bioreactor will provide other biological functions of a real kidney, including immune modulation and regulation of Vitamin D metabolism and anemia.
We are working on refining the design of the artificial kidney and determining a pathway for preclinical and clinical testing.