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Fibrogenesis Tissue Repair. 2010 Aug 10;3:14. doi: 10.1186/1755-1536-3-14.

Achievements and challenges in bioartificial kidney development.

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  • 1Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, 31 Biopolis Way, The Nanos, Singapore 138669, Singapore.


Bioartificial kidneys (BAKs) combine a conventional hemofilter in series with a bioreactor unit containing renal epithelial cells. The epithelial cells derived from the renal tubule should provide transport, metabolic, endocrinologic and immunomodulatory functions. Currently, primary human renal proximal tubule cells are most relevant for clinical applications. However, the use of human primary cells is associated with many obstacles, and the development of alternatives and an unlimited cell source is one of the most urgent challenges. BAKs have been applied in Phase I/II and Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of critically ill patients with acute renal failure. Significant effects on cytokine concentrations and long-term survival were observed. A subsequent Phase IIb clinical trial was discontinued after an interim analysis, and these results showed that further intense research on BAK-based therapies for acute renal failure was required. Development of BAK-based therapies for the treatment of patients suffering from end-stage renal disease is even more challenging, and related problems and research approaches are discussed herein, along with the development of mobile, portable, wearable and implantable devices.

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