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Renal replacement therapy was an early pioneer in both extra-corporeal organ replacement and whole organ transplantation. Today, the success of this pioneering work is directly demonstrated in the millions of patients worldwide successfully treated with dialysis and kidney transplantation. However, there remain significant shortcomings to current treatment modalities that limit clinical outcomes and quality of life. To address these problems, researchers have turned to using cell-based therapies for the development of a bioartificial kidney. These approaches aim to recapitulate the numerous functions of the healthy kidney including solute clearance, fluid homeostasis and metabolic and endocrine functions. This review will examine the state-of-the-art in kidney bioengineering by evaluating the various techniques currently being utilized to create a bioartificial kidney. These promising new technologies, however, still need to address key issues that may limit the widespread adoption of cell therapy including cell sourcing, organ scaffolding, and immune response. Additionally, while these new methods have shown success in animal models, it remains to be seen whether these techniques can be successfully adapted for clinical treatment in humans.
The rapid understanding of the cellular and molecular bases of organ function and disease processes will be translated in the next decade into new therapeutic approaches to a wide range of clinical disorders, including acute and chronic renal failure. Central to these new therapies are the developing technologies of cell therapy and tissue engineering, which are based on the ability to expand stem or progenitor cells in tissue culture to perform differentiated tasks and to introduce these cells into the patient either via extracorporeal circuits or as implantable constructs. Cell therapy devices are currently being developed to replace the filtrative, metabolic, and endocrinologic functions of the kidney lost in both acute and chronic renal failure. This review summarizes the current state of development of a wearable or implantable bioartificial kidney. These devices have the promise to be combined to produce a wearable or implantable bioartificial kidney for full renal replacement therapy that may significantly diminish morbidity and mortality in patients with acute or chronic kidney disease.
This article reviews the present state of renal failure and its treatment in the industrialized world. Novel and experimental therapies for the treatment of renal failure are covered, with special emphasis on a hybrid bioartificial kidney currently undergoing clinical trials in the USA. Preclinical data, results from human trials and work on miniaturization of the bioartificial kidney for implantation are presented. Research on microfluidics and nanotechnology applied to dialysis is ongoing in many academic centers, and several promising approaches are discussed. After 10 years of incremental improvements in end-stage renal disease care, several revolutionary technologies are on the horizon and approaching the marketplace.
Hemodialysis and hemofiltration have been important technologies in saving the lives of patients with acute (ARF) and chronic renal failure by clearing small solutes from plasma and thereby preventing death from acidemia, hyperkalemia, volume overload, and uremia. These therapeutic approaches, however, are still suboptimal, as patients with ARF have mortality rates exceeding 50%, and patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) have, on average, a life expectancy of 4-5 years. The preeminent cause of death in patients with ARF is the development of sepsis or the systemic inflammatory response syndrome with resulting systemic vasodilation, hypotension, ischemic injury to solid organs, multi-organ failure, and death. This vasodilation is due to persistent and excessive pro-inflammation. Similarly, the reduced survival times of patients with ESRD on chronic dialysis have been associated with a persistent and chronic systemic pro-inflammatory state. We have hypothesized that the loss of renal tubule cell mass acutely in acute tubule necrosis and chronically in ESRD results in an immunologically dysregulated state leading to excessive pro-inflammation. The replacement of renal tubule cell function may thus change the current dismal prognosis of patients with these disorders. In this regard, this report presents the first patient ever treated with a bioartificial kidney consisting of a synthetic hemofilter in series with a renal tubule assist device (RAD) containing approximately 10(9) human renal tubule cells. This treatment in a critically ill patient with multi-organ failure and ARF in the intensive care unit was associated temporally with improved cardiovascular parameters and enhanced native kidney function. Multiple systemic plasma cytokine levels and gene expression profiles of peripheral white blood cells were also temporally changed with cell therapy. Clinical trials in patients suffering from either ARF or ESRD are currently ongoing to evaluate the influence of the RAD on the inflammatory response in these groups of patients.
Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel
The bioartificial kidney (BAK) consists of a conventional hemofiltration cartridge in series with a renal tubule assist device (RAD) containing 10(9) porcine renal proximal tubule cells. BAK replaces filtration, transport, and metabolic and endocrinologic activities of a kidney. Previous work in an acutely uremic dog model demonstrated that BAK ameliorated endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide [LPS])-induced hypotension and altered plasma cytokine levels. To further assess the role of BAK in sepsis in acute renal failure, dogs were nephrectomized and 48 h later administered intraperitoneally with 30 x 10(10) bacteria/kg of E. coli. One hour after bacterial administration, animals were placed in a continuous venovenous hemofiltration circuit with either a sham RAD without cells (n = 6) or a RAD with cells (n = 6). BP, cardiac output, heart rate, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, and systemic vascular resistance were measured throughout the study. All animals tested were in renal failure, with blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine concentrations greater than 60 and 6 mg/dl, respectively. RAD treatment maintained significantly better cardiovascular performance, as determined by arterial BP (P < 0.05) and cardiac output (P < 0.02), for longer periods than sham RAD therapy. Consistently, all sham RAD-treated animals, except one, expired within 2 to 9 h after bacterial administration, whereas all RAD-treated animals survived more than 10 h. Plasma levels of TNF-alpha, IL-10, and C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured during cell RAD and sham RAD treatment. IL-10 levels were significantly higher (P < 0.01) during the entire treatment interval in the RAD animals compared with sham controls. These data demonstrated in a pilot large animal experiment that the BAK with RAD altered plasma cytokine levels in acutely uremic animals with septic shock. This change was associated with improved cardiovascular performance and increased survival time. These results demonstrate that the addition of cell therapy to hemofiltration in an acutely uremic animal model with septic shock ameliorates cardiovascular dysfunction, alters systemic cytokine balance, and improves survival time.
The application of cell therapy to the successful substitution process of hemofiltration may improve the poor prognosis of patients with acute renal failure (ARF) in the intensive care unit. An extracorporeal bioartificial kidney consisting of a conventional hemofilter followed in series with a renal tubule assist device (RAD) has been developed. The RAD is a hemofiltration cartridge containing 109 human renal tubule cells grown as monolayers along the inner surface of the hollow fibers. The fibers provide a porous scaffold that is immunoprotective. The ultrafiltrate from the hemofilter is delivered to the luminal compartment of the RAD, and the postfiltered blood is delivered to the extracapillary space of the RAD. The RAD has been shown to possess multiple differentiated transport, metabolic, and endocrinologic activities of renal epithelium. These activities have been demonstrated to occur when the RAD is placed in the extracorporeal circuit of the bioartificial kidney in uremic animals. This approach may improve the current therapies used to treat patients with ARF because of the RAD's ability to restore lost metabolic renal function and cytokine balance in these desperately ill patients. In this regard, the RAD was able to ameliorate endotoxin and bacteremic shock in uremic animals by altering cytokine levels, improve mean arterial blood pressure, and maintain better cardiac output. With these supportive preclinical data, an FDA-approved phase I/II clinical trial has been initiated and early results are encouraging.
Renal failure continues to carry substantial burden of morbidity and mortality in both acute and chronic forms, despite advances in transplantation and dialysis. There is evidence to suggest that the kidney has metabolic, endocrine, and immune effects transcending its filtration functions, even beyond secretion of renin and erythropoietin. Our laboratory has developed experience in the tissue culture of renal parenchymal cells, and has now been able to demonstrate the metabolic activity of these cells in an extracorporeal circuit recapitulating glomerulotubular anatomy. We have observed active transport of sodium, glucose, and glutathione. We describe the design and initial preclinical testing of the bioartificial kidney, as well as future directions of our research.
We seek to improve existing methodologies for allogenic grafting of pancreatic islets. The lack of success of encapsulated transplanted islets inside the peritoneal cavity is presently attributed to poor vascularization of the implant. A thick, fibrotic capsule often surrounds the graft, limiting survival. We have tested the hypothesis that neovascularization of the graft material can be induced by the addition of proper angiogenic factors embedded within a polymeric coat. Biocompatible and nonresorbable meshes coated with hydrophilic polymers were implanted in rats and harvested after 1-, 6-, and 12-week intervals. The implant response was assessed by histological observations on the degree of vascularity, fibrosis, and inflammation. Macrostructural geometry of meshes was conducive to tissue ingrowth into the interstitial space between the mesh filaments. Hydrogel coating with incorporated acidic or basic FGF in an electrostatic complex with polyelectrolytes and/or with heparin provided a sustained slow release of the angiogenic growth factor. Anti-factor VIII and anti-collagen type IV antibodies and a GSL I-B4 lectin were used to measure the extent of vascularization. Vigorous and persistent vascularization radiated several hundred microns from the implant. The level of vascularization should provide a sufficient diffusion of nutrients and oxygen to implanted islets. Based on our observations, stable vascularization may require a sustained angiogenic signal to allow for the development of a permanent implant structure.