Scientists are developing a functional bioartificial kidney which could replace the need for dialysis or organ transplant in the millions of patients who suffer from kidney failure. A key requirement for such a device is the formation of a “living membrane” that consists of a tight kidney cell layer on artificial membrane surfaces and can transport molecules from one side to the other.
Researchers from University of Twente and University of Utrecht in The Netherlands achieved this using conditionally immortalised human renal proximal tubular epithelial cells (ciPTECs) on polyethersulfone-based hollow fibre membranes. They demonstrated that the cell monolayer is indeed functional as a living membrane.
“This study shows the successful development of a living membrane consisting of a reproducible ciPTEC monolayer on hollow fiber membranes, an important step towards the development of a bioartificial kidney device,” said Dimitrios Stamatialis, from University of Twente.
“The strategies and methods of this work could be relevant to the development of other bioartificial organs, such as a bioartificial liver or bioartificial pancreas, and organs on chips – such as a kidney on chip, a lung on chip, or a liver on chip,” Stamatialis said.