Bio-Hybrid Kidney Powered by the Heart


For Kidney failure patients, transplanting human kidney is the best treatment, but donor’s kidneys are in short supply. To overcome this problem, US scientists are developing a first of its kind rootable artificial kidney i.e. Bio-Hybrid Kidney with microchip filters and active cells, which are powered by the heart of the patient.

William H Fissell IV, Vanderbilt University Medical centre nephrologist and associate professor of medicine, said, “We are composing a bio-hybrid device that could imitate a kidney to depose enough waste products, salt, and water to keep a patient off dialysis.

Scientists want to make this artificial kidney in small size similar to the size of soda can. The essential element of the device is a microchip. It is also called silicon nanotechnology. The microchips are accurate, affordable and make ideal filters.

Fissell said, “It using the same process that was developed by microelectronics industry for computers.”

In the filter, each pore is designed in such a way as researchers want to do. Each device contains fifteen microchips layered on top of each other. This microchip plays another important role behind filtering. Scientists said that “It is a platform in which living kidney cells will rest.”

Researchers use active kidney cells which will grow on throughout the microchip filters. The goal of using these cells to play natural everyday activity of kidney.

Fissell explained, “We can use kidney cells that luckily for us grow well in a lab dish, and grow them into a bio-reactor of living cells that will be the only ‘Santa-Claus’ membrane in the world, the only membrane that knows which chemicals are naughty and which are nice. After that, they can consume those minerals/ fibres that your body needs and rejects that wastage in your body that seriously wants to release out.”

Although this bio-hybrid device settled away from the body’s immune response, it is secured from rejection.

“The issue is not one of immune compliance, of matching, like it is with an organ transplant“, said Fissell.

How it Works?

This device performs the natural process with patient’s blood flow.

“We must translate that shaky pulsating blood flow in the arteries and turn it into an artificial device without clotting or harm”, he said.

Fluid dynamics are used to identify if there are certain state/part in the device that may cause clotting. Scientists use computer models for refining the shape of approach for smoothest blood flow. After that, by using 3D printing, they immediately prototype new design and test it to make blood flow as smoothly as possible.