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Shuvo Roy, PhD, holding a prototype of the bioartificial kidney. Photo by Steve Babuljak, University of California San Francisco

By Levi Gadye, University of California San Francisco

Shuvo Roy, PhD.
Photo by University of California San Francisco

Dialysis, a 60-year-old technology that partially replicates the function of the kidneys, remains the frontline treatment for kidney failure. Yet it can only offer a five-year survival rate of 50%—worse than many cancers.

“Our kidneys do seven or eight different functions,” UCSF’s Shuvo Roy, PhD, co-director of the The Kidney Project, told Nature. A dialysis machine provides just one of those functions, he explained — “but even then, [it] doesn’t do it very well.”

The Kidney Project intends to replace dialysis with an implantable bioartificial kidney, one that not only provides better long-term health outcomes but also frees patients from a lifetime of three 4-hour dialysis sessions per week.

Roy is a faculty member in the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, a joint department of the Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine. Roy and fellow Kidney Project co-director William Fissell, MD, from Vanderbilt University, have guided the bioartificial kidney from mere idea to functional prototype, which they hope will soon make a difference in patients’ lives.

Source: University of California San Francisco

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