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Winning Solution: iBAK - Implantable Bio-Artificial Kidney for Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy

Implantable bioartificial kidney that allows for continuous blood processing and direction of waste to the bladder while providing freedom of movement

Shuvo Roy; The Kidney Project, UCSF

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KidneyX Competition:

Artificial Kidney Prize, Phase 1

About the Solution

We are developing an implantable bioartificial kidney (iBAK). This compact device will provide kidney failure patients with continuous treatment without being tethered to an external machine. The iBAK will be surgically implanted in the abdomen, similar to a transplanted kidney, and it will process blood continuously and direct wastes to the bladder. Patients will have total mobility and will not require immunosuppression.

The iBAK consists of two key components: (1) a hemofilter constructed from silicon membranes to remove toxins from the blood; and (2) a bioreactor containing renal cells to provide other biological functions of a kidney. The highly efficient silicon membranes enable the hemofilter to perform filtration without requiring mechanical pumps or electrical power, while also protecting the cells in the bioreactor from rejection by the patient’s immune system.

Over the past decade, we have constructed small-scale versions of the hemofilters and bioreactors and successfully demonstrated their operation over short periods. We have recently developed functional iBAK prototypes by combining the hemofilters and bioreactors. Next, we will scale up the small-scale prototypes to clinical size and show their capacity to provide continuous treatment for prolonged periods. With this information, we can then advance the iBAK into clinical trials to treat patients with chronic kidney failure.

About the Winner

Shuvo Roy, PhD, is a bioengineer whose work focuses on smart medical devices, with an emphasis on implantable and wearable systems. Dr. Roy is the Technical Director of The Kidney Project, a nationwide effort focused on creating a small, surgically implanted, freestanding bioartificial kidney to treat kidney failure. Dr. Roy is a Professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, a joint department of the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, and Director of the UCSF Biodesign Laboratory. Dr. Roy is also a founding member of the UCSF Pediatric Device Consortium, whose mission is to accelerate the development of innovative devices for children’s health and the Engineering Lead for UCSF Surgical Innovations, and a faculty director of the UCSF-UC Berkeley Master of Translational Medicine program.

Dr. Roy earned a BS degree, magna cum laude, with general honors for triple majors in Physics, Mathematics (special honors), and Computer Science from Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. In 1995, he earned an MS in Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, and in 2011, he earned a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, both from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.