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.