Intelligent Machines

Artificial Renality

A dialysis filter can fill in for a kidney, separating body wastes from the blood. It works, but lost are some subtler jobs of kidney cells, such as reclaiming antioxidants and producing vitamin D. At the University of Michigan, tissue engineers have created a “bioartificial” kidney that looks to put cells, and their metabolic function, back in the picture. The team lined hollow polymer fibers with pig kidney cells and packed the fibers together in a cartridge. The device works in series with a dialysis machine: Wastes filtered out by dialysis run through the fibers while blood runs through the spaces between fibers, and the pig cells transport useful molecules across the permeable fiber walls and back into the blood. The researchers say that tests on dogs have been successful and human trials are planned, pending FDA approval. Ultimately, their ambition is to design an implantable bioartificial kidney that could replace dialysis altogether.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.