Old 11-25-2008, 03:38 PM Offline   #1 (permalink)

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Thumbs up Invention: Diamond dialysis implant - Good Read...



Kidney failure currently affects around 400,000 people in the US and countless others around the world. And even for people who can access it, plugging into a dialysis machine is a far from an ideal solution.

As well as forcing people to structure their lives around the process, dialysis is not as efficient as a real kidney at removing toxic chemicals from the blood, while leaving important biomolecules untouched.

A new kind of filter can avoid those problems, though, and be small enough to implant inside the body, a new patent application claims.

Existing dialysis filters have particular problems screening out medium-sized proteins such as β2-microglobulin, which is produced by the immune system and toxic if it builds up. The problem is that larger proteins block the filters designed to deal with those mid-size compounds.

Now William Fissell at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and colleagues at the University of Michigan have developed a filter made from a series of diamond layers drilled with successively smaller microscopic holes.

Each layer only allows molecules below a certain size to pass through. And an electric field keeps away larger proteins that would otherwise clog its pores.

This makes the filter more effective at removing toxic molecules from the blood stream than conventional membranes. What's more, Fissell says, the diamond device is small enough to be implanted into the body and works at ordinary blood pressures.

Read the full bioartificial kidney patent application

http://www.newscientist.com/article/...s-implant.html
 
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