A patent has been filed for an implantable artificial kidney that uses a diamond-based filtration system. Developed by William Fissell at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and colleagues at the University of Michigan, the filter reportedly can avoid problems typically associated with kidney dialysis.
Unlike conventional dialysis filters, the artificial kidney can efficiently screen out medium-sized proteins such as ?2-microglobulin, which can be toxic in large quantities. Conventional dialysis filters have trouble with large proteins, which can block pores in the filter that are designed to remove midsized compounds.
The artificial kidney relies on a filter made from a series of diamond layers drilled with successively smaller microscopic holes. Each layer of diamonds only allows molecules below a certain size to pass through. The device employs an electric field to deflect large proteins that potentially could clog the filter. As a result, the filter is more effective at removing toxic molecules from the bloodstream than conventional membranes, according to its developers.
Source: New ScientistNorbert Sparrow