Pollyanna Lives… In An Artifical Kidney

It’s amazing how long a week can be sometimes.  This week felt longer because I was not careful about overdoing, overdid, and spent two days in bed (well, that part of it was great: DVDs, books, phone conversations, a little internet).  I’ve learned my lesson… I think.  I have this vague recollection of saying the same thing July 4th weekend when we went up to Prescott for the rodeo and parade but ended up in the hotel room pandering to my neglient energy level instead.  Okay, maybe this time I really have learned my lesson – at least, until next time. Some lessons are hard to learn, but I’m hopeful.  Hmmmm, have I mentioned my kids refer to me as Pollyanna?

Talking about Pollyanna, I found this article in Renal And Urology News and started hopping up and down with excitement – while trying to stay seated at the computer. I’m not exactly a kid and am distressed at the thought of having my children disrupt their lives – if they’re even matches – when and if I need a kidney.  My brothers and my finance are all older than I am and, logically although sadly, might not be around at that time.  So who will donate their live kidney to me should the need arise?  If not a living donor, won’t I be placed on the list to wait… and wait… and wait?  Maybe not.  Here’s hope:

Nephrologists and Urologists Collaborate  on Implantable Artificial Kidney

                    Figure 1. An implantable artificial kidney moves closer to reality.
Figure 1. An implantable artificial kidney moves closer to reality.

Four years ago, a joint effort was established between nephrologists and urologists at the Cleveland Clinic Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute to develop and implant a bioartificial kidney. The bioartificial kidney uses a high-efficiency biomimetic silicon nanopore filter that acts synonymously as a glomerulus, in combination with a kidney epithelial cell bioreactor that allows for reabsorbtion of essential electrolytes from plasma filtrate (Figure 1). A Phase 2 trial of an extracorporeal system utilizing these technologies was completed in 2005. Current efforts have been aimed at miniaturization of technology to facilitate implantation of a miniaturized biohybrid device.

This project has been funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, the Wildwood Foundation, Cleveland Clinic, and the University of California, San Francisco. Nephrologists and engineers  involved with inception and initial development of the project include William H. Fissell, MD (Cleveland Clinic), Aaron J. Fleischman, PhD, (Cleveland Clinic), Shuvo Roy, PhD (University of California, San Francisco) and H. David Humes, MD (University of Michigan). At Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Fissell, a clinical nephrologist, has teamed with Matthew N. Simmons, MD, PhD, a urologic oncologist to develop prototypes suitable for surgical implantation.  Dr Fissell has a background in biomedical engineering and oversees design and construction of the components of the device. Together, Drs. Fissell and Simmons work through the processes of design modification, surgical implantation, in vivo device maintenance, and functional monitoring. To date they have implanted four hemofilter devices, the last of which remained in vivo for five days.

This project is a model example of the advantages of direct partnership between nephrology and urology colleagues. Dr. Fissell and colleagues provide expertise in terms of materials engineering and renal physiology to develop a device capable of reproducing kidney function.  In partnership with Dr. Simmons and the urology team, they are steadily advancing the transformation of the device from concept to an implantable reality. It is hoped that the success of this research may eventually impact the lives of millions of patients with kidney disease.

You can find the article at: http://www.renalandurologynews.com/nephrologists-and-urologists-collaborate-on-implantable-artificial-kidney/article/216193/

On the book front, there’s another book signing coming up. Here’s the “official” notice”:

Gail Rae, author of “What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease” signs the book while the radio shows she’s guested on play in the background.  Not only are the books for sale, but Next has terrific goodies and – of course – coffee for sale. That’s at Next Coffee Company 19420 N. 59 Ave. Glendale, Az. 85308 on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 2.  Locals, come join me!!!!  This is my hangout place when I need to get away from the computer and out of the office so you know one of my two cups of coffee a day is drunk here — and it’s so good.  They have food, too, even rice krispies treats which you know we can eat.

I am excited about having a book signing right in my own backyard so to speak.  It’s not the now transformed Muddy Cup in Staten Island where I used to hang out while Ingrid Michaelson (yes, THAT Ingrid Michaelson) waitressed, but it’s welcoming and you just might meet an interesting medical student since Midwestern University is right across the avenue.  I’ll be looking for you then.

Oh, I’ve got the link to the last radio show I guested on, the one with the heavy hitters full of information I hadn’t heard about before:  http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/57739/what-is-your-ckd-experience-with-gail-rae-and-a-medical-breakthrough-with-asea-how-redox-signaling

Until next week,

 Keep living your life!