iNephron

Wearable Artificial Kidney

iNephron aims to develop a basic prototype of a wearable artificial kidney. The proposed wearable device will ideally replace the renal function continuously 24h/d. The concept of this device is based on sorption filtering of blood plasma (FPSA, fractionated plasma separation adsorption) allowing clearance of a wide range of uremic toxins: (a) small molecules such as K+, phosphates, urea, uric acid and creatinine, (b) middle molecules such as beta2microglobulin, indoxyl sulphate, some amino acids and (c) protein bound toxins such as PAH, indoxyl sulphate, CMPF and p-cresol. The wearable device will include a blood plasma separator (albufilter to allow passage of albumin) and a sorption filter unit with newly developed nanosorbents. These are high capacity nanosorbents allowing for selective adsorption with only a small mass (30-50 grams). In this phase a basic prototype will be engineered and built in order to prove the aforementioned concept via testing on a laboratory scale and in animal trials (goat). Research effort is focused on the prototype design, the further development of sorbents and the development of a biocompatible blood plasma separator (albufilter type plus experimental glycosaminoglycan (GAG) coating). In the future this basic prototype will be further extended with a system for the release of excess water, with a system to regenerate the sorbents in situ and a tailor-made GAG coating with highly anti-coagulant, anti-adhesive and anti-fouling activities. Miniaturization of the device and integration with sensor and control functions is foreseen in a parallel running EU/FP7 project called Nephron+. The anticipated results will also be applicable to a serial device that can be used to enhance the efficacy of conventional hemodialysis technology. The iNephron research team consists of three nephrology research centres (Maastricht University Medical Centre, University Medical Centre Utrecht and TU Twente) and two companies (NanoDialysis B.V. and INterface BIOmaterials B.V.), all with complimentary expertise. This project has been subsidised by the Dutch Kidney Foundation for a 2-year period (2010-2012).

Search for more information about the iNephron project on the website of the Dutch Kidney Foundation