As anyone who has watched a medical drama knows, organs are in short supply and must be rushed everywhere in coolers only to be delivered at the last moment. But this is actually sort of true, especially of kidneys. In the U.S., 570,000 people suffer from chronic kidney failure, but last year there were only 16,812 kidneys available to be transplanted. A staggering 92,000 patients were left on the waiting list, which can be a death sentence.
There is no substitute for a real kidney, but researchers at UCSF and nine other labs have for years been working on an artificial version that can allow patients to live without dialysis–and without having to take immune suppressants that normally prevent transplanted kidneys from being rejected by the body. This month, the FDA announced that it has selected the artificial kidney project for its Innovation Pathway, a program designed to help breakthrough technologies reach market faster than they might otherwise. READ MORE>>