Chronic kidney disease affects 10% of the world’s population and each year, millions of people die because of a lack of access to proper and affordable treatment. More than two million patients around the world are also receiving treatment through dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.
Over the last few years, the rate of survival for patients undergoing kidney transplant has increased, thanks to new scientific developments that have helped ensure a higher success rate for those undergoing the procedure. But what can we expect for the future of kidney transplants?
The Waiting List
Today, kidney transplants for patients with the end-stage renal disease already have a high success rate with 93% of transplanted kidneys functioning well after a year and 83% after three years. But while these numbers are good, the fact that more than 100,000 patients are still on the waiting list for a kidney transplant in the United States means that a lot of people are still losing their lives just because they don’t have access to an organ donor.
In fact, patients usually wait at least five years to find a suitable donor in which time they are relying heavily on dialysis and could slowly deteriorate before the procedure could be done.
With the waiting list for kidney donors growing more every day, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) decided to take matters into their own hands and find a way to give ESRD patients the chance to live longer and better without waiting for years to get a kidney transplant. This is why they have been working on developing an artificial kidney that can function like a real kidney.
Shuvo Roy, a co-inventor of the device and a professor at the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences said: “the implantable bioartificial kidney is an alternative to dialysis and other externally wearable devices that would tether patients or limit their mobility.”
Eliminating the need to undergo dialysis is a huge help to patients since they wouldn’t need to visit a clinic three times every week for the procedure. He added: “Unlike transplants, our device will not require that patients be on immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection. This is a long-term solution, and any case where a kidney transplant is needed, our device will be a viable option.”
The Device that will Shape the Future
The Kidney Project, a research initiative focusing on developing a bioartificial kidney that can function like the natural kidney is now raising money to fund preclinical studies, help build full-scale prototypes and support initial clinical trials to see if the device will work properly. A working prototype of the bioartificial kidney is set to undergo trials by 2020.
The Kidney Project has already received $6 million in government grants and it is also receiving substantial donations from individuals who support their cause, especially those with family members who are affected by end-stage renal disease.
In the future, scientists are also hoping to grow artificial kidneys from human stem cells to further increase the chances of survival for ESRD patients.
The National Institute of Clinical Research is an SMO/CRO with offices and labs in the following cities and states: New Jersey, North Carolina, Austin, San Diego, San Francisco, Bakersfield 93309, Fountain Valley 92708, Garden Grove 92840, Hacienda Heights 91745, Huntington Beach 92648, Las Vegas 89106, Long Beach 90806, Los Angeles 90048, Ontario 91762, Rosemead 91770, San Antonio 78207, Santa Ana 92704, Upland 91786, and Westminster 92683.