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Novel device may serve as alternative to a kidney transplant


Narrator:            This is Science Today. Over the last decade, a nationwide, multidisciplinary team of researchers have been working to develop the world's first implantable artificial kidney. Shuvo Roy, an associate professor of bioengineering and therapeutic sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, says it will still be about five to seven years before their device reaches large-scale human testing, but once successful, it could serve as a heavy-duty transplant.

Roy:                    Our device will provide therapy 24/7. It will allow the patient to be mobile; they don't have to be tethered to a machine. It'll also get many of the benefits of a kidney, so you do not have to feel as bad as many people on dialysis do.

Narrator:            The device features a special filter using silicon nanotechnology — the same technology used to make computer chips. The filter can remove toxins, sugars, salts and water very much like a real kidney does.

Roy:                    And because we are protecting it with this special membrane that we've developed with silicon nanotechnology, the body's immune system will not attack the cells and therefore avoid the need for immune suppressant drugs.

Narrator:            For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.