Implantable, Artificial Kidney to be Powered by Patient's Own Heart
Vanderbilt University Medical Center nephrologist and associate professor of medicine Dr. William H. Fissell IV, is developing a first-of-its kind device to free kidney patients from dialysis. He is building an implantable artificial kidney with microchip filters and living kidney cells that will be powered by a patient's own heart. The key to the device is a microchip. "It's called silicon nanotechnology. It uses the same processes that were developed by the microelectronics industry for computers," says Fissell. The chips are affordable, precise, and make ideal filters. Fissell's team is designing each pore in the filter one by one based on what they want that pore to do. Each device will hold roughly fifteen microchips layered on top of each other. The team will use live kidney cells that will grow on and around the microchip filters. The goal is for these cells to mimic the natural actions of the kidney.