Artificial kidney project receives $3 million from Goldman Foundation, NIH

The effort to create the first implantable bioartificial kidney has received a $750,000 gift from the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Led by UCSF bioengineer Shuvo Roy, PhD, The Kidney Project brings together researchers at nine institutions nationwide. Roy is a faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, a joint department of the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine.

The Goldman Foundation gift supplements a recent $2.25 million grant awarded to the project by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) this summer. The funds will help fuel the project toward the goal of entering clinical trials by 2017.

“These funds are a critical step in helping us move this project forward more quickly and ultimately bring real solutions to patients throughout the world,” said Roy.

The implantable device will address a major unmet medical need in the treatment of end stage renal disease (ESRD), also known as chronic kidney failure.

Currently, about two million people worldwide and 600,000 Americans are living with the condition, which is rising five percent annually. Treatment options include kidney transplants—but there is a severe shortage of donor organs—and dialysis. The latter comes at a high budgetary and human price. Dialysis costs U.S. Medicare $24 billion a year and only about a third of patients survive beyond five years.

The implantable device being developed to carry out normal kidney functions will be about the size of a coffee cup and consist of two main units: a hemofilter containing the silicon nanopore membrane to filter incoming blood, and a bioreactor, employing renal tubule cells, to perform other biological activities, such as regulating blood pressure and reabsorbing sugars, salts and water.

The project is currently building and testing increasingly complex prototypes in stages with engineers, scientists, and physicians across the United States.

The Goldman gift is the largest philanthropic support to date for the project, which has also drawn funding from the NIH, other federal agencies, and individuals around the world.

Roy estimates that The Kidney Project will require an additional $13 million in funding in order to reach the clinical trial milestone.


School of Pharmacy, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, PharmD Degree Program, UCSF - UC Berkeley Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics Graduate Program (PSPG), PSPG

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