Renal failure is a severe pathological condition whereby the kidneys become unable to remove uremic toxins from the blood. One of most common treatments for this disease is hemodialysis, a process during which the blood is passed through a semipermeable membrane. This procedure, however, is expensive and time-consuming.
Mitsuhiro Ebara and co-workers, National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Tsukuba, Japan, have developed an alternative blood-purifying system. The researchers incorporated zeolites, nontoxic aluminosilicates, into a blood-compatible matrix polymer made from polyethylene-co-vinyl alcohol. In this way, they obtained composite nanofiber meshes that can be used to purify the blood. Owing to their microporous structures, the zeolites were capable of selectively adsorbing uremic toxins from blood.
Although the absorbtion capacity of these meshes requires further optimization, according to the authors, the new system might soon be used as a cheap alternative to dialysis for patients with kidney failure.
- Fabrication of zeolite–polymer composite nanofibers for removal of uremic toxins from kidney failure patients,
Koki Namekawa, Makoto Tokoro Schreiber, Takao Aoyagi, Mitsuhiro Ebara,
Biomater. Sci. 2014.