Biomedical Engineering Application to Kidney Problems

The era of precision medicine warrants a multi-pronged approach to develop better biomarkers or therapeutic targets. Leveraging a rich interdisciplinary network of biomedical engineers, computation biologists, synthetic chemists, polymer chemists and health economists. Kidney problems and its potential solution lend itself for the biomedical engineering approach. Two major areas remain the focus of our effort – bioimaging to evaluate the extent of kidney damage and vascular disease in CKD and bioengineering approach to develop targeted dialyzer membrane to remove cardiotoxic uremic solutes. We have developed an elastic light scattering spectrometry (ESS) to detect renal fibrosis from fresh kidney tissue. Using the computation biology team along with machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop a multi-scale predictive models of chronic kidney disease or its complications such as thrombosis. Current hemodialysis technique fails to remove pathogenic toxins that are retained in these patients. These uremic toxins contribute to fatal cardiovascular events such as stroke and heart attacks, as well as anemia, rapid aging, alterations in drug metabolism, bone weakness, and infertility. Spear headed by Dr. Vipul Chitalia (BU and Global Co-creation Labs -GCL, MIT), John Porco, David Coker and Lauren Brown (Chemistry, BU) and Arturo Vega (BME, BU) will develop modified dialysis membranes to selectively trap pathogenic uremic toxins. In the spirit of interdisciplinary research, this project will be benefitted by the collaboration between BU and GCL, IMES, MIT represented by Dr. Chitalia and Mr. Spencer Moss (MBA, GCL, MIT Sloan) who will head the business development of this project. Development of ‘smarter dialyzer’ heralds an era beyond the incremental changes in the hemodialysis technique observed since its inception.