Wired magazine visits The Kidney Project

Kidney failure is a debilitating and ultimately deadly illness, and a health policy crisis. With 468,000 people on dialysis in the U.S., costing the government $31 billion dollars a year, very little money is spent on researching alternatives to current treatments.

Wired magazine’s Megan Molteni visited Shuvo Roy, PhD, to check in on the progress of the implantable artificial kidney, which has been in the works for more than 20 years. 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 implantable artificial kidney employs silicon filters, and will encapsulate living cells that would help recreate most of the essential functions of the kidneys.

model of artificial kidney

Prototype model of the bioartificial kidney—a compact, surgically implanted, free-standing device to treat end stage renal disease (ESRD).

“Silicon is the most perfected man-made material on Earth,” Roy told Wired. Buoyed by an outpouring of public interest and donations, the project is nearing early-stage human trials.

Roy is the director of The Kidney Project, which is co-directed by William Fissell, MD, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


Wired.com: Silicon isn’t just for computers. It can make a pretty good kidney, too

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.