As a result, roughly 400,000 Americans with ESRD survive on dialysis, which comes at a high price: the U.S. Medicare system spends upwards of $29 billion per year, or 6 percent of its total budget, to treat kidney failure, including $24 billion each year to pay for dialysis. Only 34 percent of dialysis patients survive beyond five years.
The UCSF team has used silicon technology from the computer industry to design a nano-filter for the first compartment of the device, which would offer the same level of filtration as dialysis in a box smaller than a coffee cup. A second compartment would hold live kidney cells that perform the other biological actions of a real kidney.
The entire device would be implanted in the abdomen and powered by the body’s blood pressure, without a need for external pumps or tubes. The device also is designed to be used without the immunosuppressant drugs needed in transplants.
Earlier this year, the project was selected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as one of the first three pilots for a collaborative FDA review process, which aims to address potential regulatory obstacles for the device up front, before it enters the approval process. The Kidney Project was chosen for its transformative potential in treating chronic kidney failure, a major health concern.
The Kidney Project also has been identified as a campus priority by UCSF and the UCSF School of Pharmacy for its potential to develop a breakthrough therapy to help solve a pressing health need. The school focuses on therapeutics, including medical devices and diagnostic tests, in addition to medications.
The Goldman support is the largest philanthropic grant to date for the project, which has drawn support from a number of individuals throughout the world, as well as grants from the National Institutes of Health, NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense.
The UCSF School of Pharmacy is the nation’s premier, graduate-level pharmacy school, the oldest of its kind in the western United States, and a wellspring for discovery and innovation in the therapeutic sciences, education, and the pharmaceutical care of patients. For more information, please visit http://pharmacy.ucsf.edu/.
UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. Visit www.ucsf.edu.