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


School of Pharmacy, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, PharmD Degree Program

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.