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. In their presentation, Dimitrios Stamatialis, PhD from University of Twente in The Netherlands, Roos Masereeuw, PhD from University of Utrecht in The Netherlands discussed achieving this using conditionally immortalized human renal proximal tubular epithelial cells (ciPTECs) on polyethersulfone-based hollow fiber 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 Prof. Stamatialis. "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."
More progress will need to be made but this is a key component needed to create a bioartificial kidney.