Wearable artificial kidney soon to be a reality?
Medikoe HealthTech Expert
80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru Oct 29, 2018
In a report published in ACS Nano, scientists suggest that a new urea sorbent can accelerate the progress of developing a wearable, low weight artificial kidney. The artificial kidney can make dialysis more feasible and comfortable.
The role of the kidney:
Kidneys are an essential part of the body. The kidneys are responsible for the removal of waste products from the blood and are also responsible for regulating the water fluid levels in the body. Besides the removal of waste products, kidneys are also responsible for roles like maintaining pH, regulation of ion concentration etc.
Kidney failure is a dangerous condition and getting a kidney transplant is not always a feasible choice. The only alternative apart from transplant is to go for regular dialysis to remove the harmful waste. Thus, the findings of this research are very promising, especially considering that millions of people suffer from renal failure.
Currently, people suffering from renal failure need to visit the hospital multiple times a week for dialysis. The process is cumbersome, and even the results are not always totally satisfying. Dialysis is not the substitute for natural kidneys, as kidneys work round the clock to discard the waste products and toxins from the body, while dialysis is done for only a few hours a week. Hence, there is an urgent need to find a solution to the problem of renal failure. Keeping the challenge in mind, the researchers are trying to develop an artificial wearable kidney, that can substitute for the natural kidney in people suffering from renal failure.
The researchers used MXene, which is an emerging nanomaterial. Instead of breaking down the urea (which is done in current dialysis procedures) MXene can capture urea by sandwiching the urea molecules between its nanometer-thin layers. MXene captured 94% of urea from the discarded material of dialysis machines. And at body temperature, MXene can capture an even higher concentration of urea. Further, MXene does not kill cells and hence it can be widely used among the people. Hence, MXene can be used to develop artificial wearable kidneys, which can be lifesaving for people suffering from renal failure.