Finalist: Development of a Dialysate-and Cell-Free Renal Replacement Technology

Current clinical approaches to treat patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) include hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and renal transplantation. Our project was motivated by the following considerations. It would be desirable to develop a renal replacement technology (standalone, wearable or implantable format) that for the first time did not require the use of an external dialysate solution to drive the passive flux of ions and water across a semipermeable membrane. Secondly, it would be very advantageous to have the capability of adjusting the transport of ions and water under feedback/sensor control to prevent the changes in blood chemistry that result from alterations in dietary food and fluid intake. Thirdly, a dialysate-and cell-free technology that could potentially function continuously either in an external or implantable format would more closely mimic the native kidney.

Here we describe the initial design and operation of a novel technology that has ultrafiltration and ion/water transport capabilities. The device couples for the first time new multiple wafer electrodeionization technology with pressure driven ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis modules specifically developed for this project. Importantly, the device does not utilize external water/dialysate or living cells. The technologic advances and approaches employed in this proposal can be potentially utilized in the future in various configurations that include standalone, wearable and implantable renal replacement devices to treat patients with compromised kidney function. The technology we describe represents a significant advance in the field of renal replacement therapy ever since hemodialysis was first developed as a therapeutic modality over 70 years ago.

Submitted by Ira Kurtz, Roland Ludlow, and Jamie Hestekin on behalf of UCLA, Curion Research Corporation, and the University of Arkansas.

To learn more, please contact Dr. Ira Kurtz at