Cutting Edge Dialysis Treatment.
Life continues despite being on dialysis. In an effort to help our patients stay engaged in life CKS offers the best options for treatments for kidney disease. Scientists are developing alternatives to dialysis and new treatments that may potentially eliminate the need for kidney transplants in the future. CKS’s goal is to improve the health and mobility of our patients who depend on dialysis. Some cutting-edge treatments that are on the horizon are:
Artificial Kidney Devices
Several artificial kidney devices are currently in testing phases. These devices perform most of the functions of natural kidneys, including filtering wastes from blood and making urine.
Artificial kidney devices are relatively small and portable, and have benefits over both dialysis and kidney transplant. They allow people to have much more freedom in their daily lives than dialysis. And drugs that suppress the immune system are usually not necessary, as they are with a kidney transplant. This eliminates the possibility of serious side effects.
Drugs and Stem Cell Therapy for Diabetic Nephropathy
Researchers at Harvard Stem Cell Institute are working on several projects to improve treatment of kidney failure. They are studying drugs and stem cells to treat kidney damage from diabetes, which is a common cause of kidney failure, called diabetic nephropathy.
Scientists are looking at a type of stem cell called mesenchymal stem cells, which protect the kidneys from injury and help kidney tissue heal faster. Scientists hope to use a protein secreted by these stem cells to help repair damaged kidneys. One possible approach is to deliver the proteins to the kidneys during dialysis.
Another research project is developing an artificial kidney using stem cells. Scientists have already created a working artificial rat kidney and believe it is possible to make a kidney for humans. The process involves mixing kidney stem cells with special gels that are molded into the structure of a nephron. Nephrons are microscopic units within the kidney that remove waste from the blood and make urine.
Researchers have also found the types of kidney cells that are easily damaged by diabetes. They are working to discover a new drug that targets these cells. They hope that the new drug therapy may eliminate the need for dialysis.