Wearable artificial kidney trials prove concept is workable

Jamale Thompson, who gets dialysis at our Seattle clinic at 15th and Cherry, was the first woman to participate in clinical trials of the wearable artificial kidney last year. Under observation by Kidney Research Institute scientists, seven patients wore the tool-belt-like device to cleanse their blood for 24 hours in a hospital.


“It was awesome.
You could eat whatever you want, and I didn’t have to take binders.” 

— Jamale Thompson, wearable artificial kidney trial participant


The trial proved the concept for the device, which would be the first truly portable hemodialysis machine. Components now are being redesigned for further testing.


Jamale Thompson, one of seven people to participate in the Kidney Research Institute's wearable artificial kidney trial in 2015.
Jamale Thompson participated in the Kidney Research Institute’s wearable artificial kidney trial in 2015. Continual blood cleansing by the portable device allowed patients a reprieve from dialysis diet restrictions.


A continued focus on research

Research has fueled our work since 1962, after Dr. Belding Scriber’s shunt made long-term dialysis possible. We collaborated with UW Medicine to launch the Kidney Research Institute in 2008 and it continues to exceed expectations, bringing in $26 million in grants last year. In seven years, the Kidney Research Institute has received more than $75 million in grants and published nearly 700 papers. It has more than 50 studies currently underway.

Recent advances include completion of the first clinical trial of a Wearable Artificial Kidney, new applications for the kidney-on-a-chip (including kidney cancer) and exciting new stem cell research with the promise of generating kidney cells.

Join a kidney research study

Want to make a difference by participating in a kidney research study? People with and without kidney disease are often needed. Visit the Kidney Research Institute’s website to find out how you can get involved in research.



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