Posted on May 09, 2014, 6 a.m.
A composite mesh removes uremic toxins from patients with kidney failure.
There is a need to develop a simple, cheap, and accessible method of treating patients with kidney failure, especially in resource-limited environments such as disaster areas and the developing world due to the inaccessibility of conventional hemodialysis treatments. Koki Namekawa, from the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (WPI-MANA; Japan), and colleagues have innovated a nanofiber mesh for the removal of toxins from the blood, which they are hopeful may be incorporated into wearable blood purification systems for kidney failure patients. The team made their nanofiber mesh using two components: a blood-compatible primary matrix polymer made from polyethylene-co-vinyl alchohol, or EVOH, and several different forms of zeolites - naturally occurring aluminosilicates. Zeolites have microporous structures capable of adsorbing toxins such as creatinine from blood. The researchers generated the mesh using a versatile and cost-effective process called electrospinning – using an electrical charge to draw fibers from a liquid. The study authors report that: “The proposed composite fibers have the potential to be utilized as a new approach to removing nitrogenous waste products from the bloodstream without the requirement of specialized equipment.”
K. Namekawa, M.T. Schreiber, T. Aoyagi, & M. Ebara. "Fabrication of zeolite-polymer composite nanofibers for removal of uremic toxins from kidney failure patients." Biomaterials Science, Jan. 31, 2014.