I do not pretend to understand totally the innovations that are emerging from various researchers who are attempting to improve the lives of those diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and those who have reached the end stage of being on dialysis.
I have read up a good bit on the artificial kidney that may be on the brink of successful marketing. I have read up somewhat on wearable artificial kidneys that may someday make dialysis patients much move ambulatory. Now I am being presented with 3D printer technology that may be able to impact those with kidney failure.
What some call “The Chronic Kidney Disease Community” has again been hit with welcomed news of the progress of three-dimensional (3D) printed organs such as kidneys which with newly discovered technology can be used to construct viable transplantable kidneys and cut the times of those on kidney transplant waiting lists.
The rapidly growing kidney transplant waiting list is not new to most chronic kidney disease and dialysis patients. Now as over 120,000 patients await a kidney transplant for an average of five (5) to seven (7) years or longer, patients and researchers have been searching for alternative options. Some of these innovations likely do offer some hope for patients wanting to find an option to shuck dialysis and replace the option of kidney transplantation.
While the organic 3D printed transplants have been a theoretical option, they have also met various obstacles preventing 3D printed kidneys from becoming a reality. However, the New Scientist publication now reports: “Researchers of the University of Florida in Gainesville came to a breakthrough method while searching for a way to enable the printing of items that cannot support their own weight.” The new technique prints objects inside of a gel material similar to hand sanitizer called Acrylic Acid Polymer.
In the test runs, the researchers used living cells including human blood-vessel and kidney cells. Findings were very promising and according to researchers it “could make it easier to print organs from living tissue.” The Research Team was able to shape the material into small scale models.
Nevertheless, there is “a catch,” noted New Scientist. Apparently, there are a few “shortcomings” associated with this process, “but the possibility presents a considerable amount of promise going forward, and the researchers from the project are optimistic” about the ability of 3D printed kidneys.
This news is likely very exciting for some of us who are currently suffering from chronic kidney disease and dialysis. Any innovation that provides hope for renal patients is welcomed news, especially if the update refreshes their spirit in continuing their fight for survival. As a dialysis patient, I can sure use any element of hope, even if it turns out to be a false dose of hope during my lifetime.
Note: Information provided by kidneybuzz.com and the New Scientist publication.