Wearable Artificial Kidney Update

Here’s the link to see the nephrology news on Medscape:

From Medscape (note: to read stories on Medscape, you must register for free). Here’s the link to this article:

[I]NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Aug 20 - A new wearable artificial kidney (WAK) should soon be ready for clinical trials. Technical breakthroughs have allowed construction of an 8-pound prototype that continuously dialyzes patients’ blood.

“The important thing is that we finally have (a dialysis device) that is wearable, works on batteries, and requires very little water as compared to the regular devices that use many gallons of water for each treatment,” lead author Dr. Victor Gura explained to Reuters Health in email correspondence.

“The WAK is intended to be worn as a belt, under the patient’s clothing,” he added. “It works 24/7, and in as much as nobody takes out his own kidneys, we would hope patients would wear it continuously.”

Dr. Gura is on faculty at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills, California, and is Chief Medical Officer of Xcorporeal Inc. in Los Angeles. In the August 20 early online issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, he and his associates describe the solute-removal capabilities of the sorbent-dialysate-regenerating WAK.

The machine works with intermittent flow changes in blood and dialysate, such that the dialysate circulates in countercurrent flow to the blood, in order to increase fluid flux across the dialysis membrane.

Because the volume of dialysate is small, before returning to the dialyzer most of it is recycled through canisters containing the sorbents urease, zirconium phosphate, hydrous zirconium oxide, and sodium bicarbonate.

Other features that improve its capability include a larger surface area high-flux dialyzer and a higher dialysate pH. Activated charcoal is used to remove beta-2 microglobulin from blood.

Dr. Gura commented that so far, the device appears to be very safe and efficient, but further studies will be required.

“Renal failure is too costly to allow society to treat all comers,” he continued. “These patients are subject to great suffering and have a high mortality. We hope that new technologies will alleviate the plight of these patients and improve their survival. We also hope to reduce the enormous cost associated with treating end stage renal disease.”

Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2009.[/I]

Just to get a rough idea, how long do clinical trials take? Approximately how much time before we can actually start using this device?


Dr. Victor Gura conducted a pilot study of his device with 8 patients in England according to the Clinical Trials website.

Here are some FAQs on the Clinical Trials website:

This does not say how long it is expected for the clinical trial of this device to take. However, patients will be needed to participate in the various phases of the clinical trial.

Here are a couple of abstracts of the pilot study:

Thanks Beth for the information!


Here’s the article from the Guardian which previously appeared. Pictures of the said belt are about on google if you search…:slight_smile:


Hopefully there’s been some more trialing since that was published… Exciting times people, exciting times:)

I took a photo of this at the American Society of Nephrology meeting last year. I think this version is supposed to be for PD. :slight_smile:


It’s worn in a way similar perhaps to workmans overalls or a baby carrier.

That could perhaps be an older version? Maybe this is the newer design?


As far I can see I think patients expect Nano, this is still awkward, neverthless its great progress…[/B]