Human kidneys are known for its use as filters of the body. During the time that it deteriorates, the filtration of toxins in our blood also fades, making us more prone to disease and sickness. The longer the body is exposed to greater amounts of unfiltered toxins the more it becomes weak and damaged.
This paves the way for a procedure called dialysis which is an alternative for filtering one’s blood using a machine. This procedure works but in the long run, the prospects aren’t good at all. There is only a 50% of survival rate after three years. More so, the quality of life for those undergoing this treatment is poor. They are literally hooked up on tubes and having their blood swished around just like clothes in a washing machine. Worse, it happens continuously for hours, several times a week!
Good thing that scientists at Vanderbilt University are working on an alternative to dialysis treatment. They have engineered a fist-sized artificial kidney that can be implanted into the bodies of those suffering from renal failure. This device intends to be implanted in the abdomen and will be generally powered by the heart. It is designed to filter blood and and perform other kidney functions that include production of hormones and assistance in control of blood pressure.
Different from the conventional haemodialysis that merely filters toxins from the blood, this artificial kidney consists of a membrane that filters the blood and a bio-reactor containing living kidney cells that are exposed to the blood during dialysis.
With this advancement in science, people who are undergoing dialysis or waiting for a kidney donor are definitely enlightened with new hope. This will free them from being tied up in a hospital bed or from being part of the waitlist for a kidney transplant which can take a very long time.