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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.
The long-term survival for many chronic kidney failure patients who remain treated by dialysis in economically advanced countries remains similar to that of those with solid-organ malignancy, despite a disproportionate amount of health-care expenditure. As such, the current paradigm of three times weekly in-center hemodialysis for 4 h or shorter sessions needs to change to improve patient outcomes. Although more frequent and longer dialysis sessions have been reported to improve cardiovascular risk surrogates and short-term outcomes, these options are only practically available to a very small fraction of the total dialysis population. As such, radically new approaches are required to improve patient outcomes and quality of life for the majority of dialysis patients. Currently, two different approaches are being developed, wearable devices based on current dialysis techniques and more futuristic implantable devices modeled on the natural nephron.
Silicon nanopore membranes (SNM) with monodisperse pore size distributions have potential applications in bioartificial kidneys. A protein resistant thin film coating on the SNM is required to minimize biofouling and, hence, enhance the performance efficiency of SNM. In this work, a zwitterionic polymer, poly(sulfobetaine methacrylate) (polySBMA), was used to coat silicon and SNM substrates via a surface initiated atom transfer radical polymerization method. The polySBMA-coated surfaces were characterized using contact angle goniometry, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), ellipsometry and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Resistance of the coatings to protein fouling was examined by measurement of fibrinogen adsorption from fibrinogen solution and human plasma on coated silicon surfaces. Results showed that the polySBMA coating suppresses non-specific adsorption of fibrinogen. The protein-repellent property of polySBMA thin film coating is comparable to that of PEG-based coatings. Analysis of the surfaces by XPS indicated that the films remained stable when stored under physiologic conditions over a 4-week period.
The confluence of an increasing prevalence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), clinical trial data suggestive of benefit from quotidian dialysis, and ongoing cost/benefit reanalysis of healthcare spending have stimulated interest in technological improvements in provision of ESRD care. For the last decade, our group has focused on enabling technologies that would permit a paradigm shift in dialysis care similar to that brought by implantable defibrillators to arrhythmia management. Two significant barriers to wearable or implantable dialysis persist: package size of the dialyzer and water requirements for preparation of dialysate. Decades of independent research into highly efficient membranes and cell-based bioreactors culminated in a team effort to develop an implantable version of the University of Michigan Renal Assist Device. In this review, the rationale for the design of the implantable artificial kidney is described.
BACKGROUND - The wearable artificial kidney (WAK) has been a holy grail in kidney failure for decades. Described herein are the breakthroughs that made possible the creation of the WAK V1.0 and its advanced versions V 1.1 and 1.2.
DESIGN - The battery-powered WAK pump has a double channel pulsatile counter phase flow. This study clarifies the role of pulsatile blood and dialysate flow, a high-flux membrane with a larger surface area, and the optimization of the dialysate pH. Flows and clearances from the WAK pump were compared with conventional pumps and with gravity steady flow.
RESULTS - Raising dialysate pH to 7.4 increased adsorption of ammonia. Clearances were higher with pulsatile flow as compared with steady flow. The light WAK pump, geometrically suitable for wearability, delivered the same clearances as larger and heavier pumps that cannot be battery operated. Beta(2) microglobulin (beta(2)M) was removed from human blood in vitro. Activated charcoal adsorbed most beta(2)M in the dialysate. The WAK V1.0 delivered an effective creatinine clearance of 18.5 +/- 3.2 ml/min and the WAK V1.1 27.0 +/- 4.0 ml/min in uremic pigs.
CONCLUSIONS - Half-cycle differences between blood and dialysate, alternating transmembrane pressures (TMP), higher amplitude pulsations, and a push-pull flow increased convective transport. This creates a yet undescribed type of hemodiafiltration. Further improvements were achieved with a larger surface area high-flux dialyzer and a higher dialysate pH. The data suggest that the WAK might be an efficient way of providing daily dialysis and optimizing end stage renal disease (ESRD) treatment.
Most of the 400,000+ patients in the United States with kidney failure depend on dialysis treatments in dedicated dialysis centers for 3 h to 5 h, usually 3 times a week, but they still suffer from accelerated cardiovascular disease and infections. Extended daily dialysis, for 6 to 8 hours every day, seems to be associated with better outcomes but would overwhelm the dialysis networks and severely limit patient activity. Technology to miniaturize and automate home dialysis will be necessary to offer extended daily dialysis to most dialysis patients. Miniaturization of existing hollow-fiber polymer membranes is constrained by requirements for high driving pressures for circulation and convective clearance. Recent advances in membrane technology based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) promise to enable the development of continuous implantable renal replacement therapy. Silicon nanoporous membranes with a highly monodisperse pore size distribution have been produced using protocols amenable to low-cost batch fabrication similar to those used to produce microelectronics. Hydraulic permeability of the flat-sheet membranes with critical pore sizes in the range of 8-100 nm has been measured to confirm that conventional fluid transport models are sufficiently accurate for predictive design for bulk liquid flow in an implantable hemofilter. Membrane biocompatibility was tested in vitro with human proximal tubule cells and revealed that silicon does not exhibit cytotoxicity, as evidenced by the formation of confluent cell layers with tight junctions and central cilia. Filtration characterization demonstrated that the nanoporous membranes exhibit size-dependent solute rejection in agreement with steric hindrance models. These advances in membrane technology are fundamentally enabling for a paradigm shift from an in-center to implantable dialysis system.
Nanotechnology, defined as the science of material features between 10(-9) and 10(-7) of a meter, has received extensive attention in the popular press as proof-of-concept experiments in the laboratory are published. The inevitable delay between feature articles and clinical endpoints has led to unwarranted skepticism about the applicability of the technology to current medical therapy. The theoretic advantages of micro- and nanometer scale engineering to renal replacement include the manufacture of high-hydraulic permeability membranes with implanted sensing and control structures. Recent data in membrane design and testing is presented, with a review of the challenges remaining in implementation of this technology.
Copyright (c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.
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