Two researchers at UCLA, Martin Roberts and David B.N. Lee, have designed a peritoneal, wearable kidney that could replace the failing organs of a patient.
The automated, wearable artificial kidney (AWAK) functions continuously, instead of having to spend hours on a machine which is typically four hours at a time, three times a week.
The AWAK also regenerates and reuses the fluids and proteins contained in the dialysate which reduces protein loss and eliminates water loss. It is “bloodless”, which means that it does not involve blood circulation outside the body.
AWAK is being called “dialysis-on-the-go” because of its wearability and automation. Around 1980, an artificial kidney machine was built, but the machine was portable, not wearable. This new technology would allow patients to go about their daily lives while on dialysis.
Martin Roberts, one of the researchers developing the AWAK, says, “What’s really new about it is the patient’s freedom. To me, as the inventor, the most important thing for the patients is their freedom. The next important thing is that because it’s working all the time instead of intermittently, you can do a much better job of treating the patient. So we expect the patient to feel better and live longer.”
This study is published in the Clinical and Experimental Nephrology journal.
“Dialysis-on-the-go, made possible by AWAK’s ‘wearability’ and automation, frees end-stage renal failure patients from the servitude that is demanded by the current dialytic regimentations,” Roberts and Lee write in the journal article.