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Wed Sep 27 08:02:20 PDT 2023

Medgadget (Medical Technology) Daily Digest (Unofficial)


( Implantable Bioreactor for Kidney Cells
Sep 26th 2023, 14:40

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco have developed an implantable bioreactor that may pave the way for artificial kidneys. Dialysis and kidney transplants both have significant disadvantages for patients with kidney failure, and so scientists are trying to develop a lab created kidney  that would not require harsh immunosuppression or a donor kidney. This implantable bioreactor may be a step in the right direction, and it includes a type of cell found in the kidney which is protected from the immune system behind a silicon membrane. Blood can flow through the device, and so far the researchers have shown that the cells inside can survive when it is implanted into pigs for at least seven days. The researchers hope to develop the device further, including multiple cell types from the kidney, so that it begins to fulfill the roles of the kidney in the body.

Kidney failure patients are often treated with dialysis, but this is a poor substitute for a working kidney, and requires patients to attend a clinic several times a week. A kidney transplant is the eventual goal for many such patients, but donor kidneys are in short supply and waiting lists are long. Moreover, even when a donor kidney becomes available, the recipient must take strong immunosuppressant drugs for the remainder of their lives.

These issues have prompted researchers to begin to develop artificial kidneys in the lab. Such constructs may use a patient’s own kidney cells, if available, which could negate the need for immunosuppression. Other strategies may involve protecting the kidney cells using physical barriers to exclude immune cells.

This latest advance comes in the form of an implantable bioreactor that includes a type of kidney cell, a proximal tubule cell, which is ordinarily involved in regulating water levels in the body, as a proof-of-concept. “We are focused on safely replicating the key functions of a kidney,” said Shuvo Roy, a researcher involved in the study. “The bioartificial kidney will make treatment for kidney disease more effective and also much more tolerable and comfortable.”

The bioreactor is designed to be directly connected to nearby blood vessels, allowing blood to flow through it. However, silicon membranes protect the kidney cells within from immune attack. So far, the device could support cell survival for at least seven days when the bioreactors were implanted in pigs, suggesting that the technique could work when additional cell types are included.    

“We needed to prove that a functional bioreactor will not require immunosuppressant drugs, and we did,” said Roy. “We had no complications and can now iterate up, reaching for the whole panel of kidney functions at the human scale.”

Study in journal Nature Communications: ( Feasibility of an implantable bioreactor for renal cell therapy using silicon nanopore membranes

Flashbacks: ( An Implantable Artificial Kidney: Interview with UCSF’s Dr. Shuvo Roy; ( Artificial Organ Waiting List… Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You

Via: ( UCSF

( Virtual Reality Headset Takes EEG Measurements
Sep 26th 2023, 14:25

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have developed an electroencephalogram (EEG) sensor that is incorporated into a virtual reality headset. The technology can measure brain activity while someone is undergoing an immersive virtual reality experience. The device may assist in enhancing medical virtual reality interventions, such as those used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder or phobias, by revealing brain activity during different tasks or experiences that help clinicians to tailor treatment plans to maximize efficacy. The electrodes are soft and spongy, which makes them comfortable against the head, and they can get a good reading even if there is hair in the way.    

Virtual reality has plenty to offer the medical space. Not only can it be used for neuroscience research, but it also has potential in medical interventions, such as those designed to assist people with post-traumatic stress disorder to expose themselves to triggering stimuli in a safe space. Similar exposure therapy may be beneficial for those with phobias. Virtual reality may also be useful for physical rehabilitation for those with neurological conditions, assisting in motor learning.

However, to date, assessing a VR user’s brain activity while they are immersed in a virtual world has not been that easy. The traditional electrode-covered cap would interfere with the use of a VR headset. While combined VR/EEG systems have been designed before, they have been costly and uncomfortable, using the traditional rigid comb-shaped electrodes that can penetrate through hair, but which are uncomfortable to wear for long periods.     

“All of these mainstream options have significant flaws that we tried to overcome with our system,” said Hongbian Li, a researcher involved in the study. As an alternative that could fit into a VR headset, but which also provided comfort, the researchers created soft and spongy electrodes that were comfortable against the scalp, but which could still obtain a good signal through hair.

The electrodes are included in both the forehead pad and top strap of the headset, while an EEG recording device rests at the back of the headset. So far, the researchers have tested the system by measuring the brain activity of volunteers while they played a driving simulator game.

Here’s a video from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus:

Study in journal Soft Science: ( Hair-compatible sponge electrodes integrated on VR headset for electroencephalography

Via: ( University of Texas at Austin

Forwarded by:
Michael Reeder LCPC
Baltimore, MD

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