'Bionic microkidney' blocks antibiotic toxicity – study

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Antibiotics, a widely used type of aminoglycoside, cause kidney damage in nearly a quarter of hospitalized patients, posing a major problem for the more than 37 million Americans with chronic kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). ). — the university said in a statement. The problem is so serious that the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has made the development of antibiotics for patients with chronic kidney disease a national priority.

A team of researchers led by Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, director of the Grass Center for Bioengineering at the University of Houston and founder of spin-off biotechnology startup Tissue Dynamics, has developed a biochip with electron-optical sensors, about half the thickness of a human hair, that is implanted in human kidney tissue. According to Nahmias, this "bionic microkidney" mimics normal human physiology much better than animal simulations.

"Most of the work in drug development is done in mice, — said Nahmias, — and the mechanism we found is human-specific.”

The biochip, developed in collaboration with Tissue Dynamics, allowed the team to measure glucose buildup, which leads to rapid lipid accumulation and kidney damage.

“The human body makes lipids from sugar, whereas in rodents, lipids are mainly made from dietary fats,” — Nahmias explained.

Therefore, tests of aminoglycoside antibiotics in mice do not provide insight into their toxicity to human kidneys. "Bionic microkidney" in addition to diagnostics, it can also block antibiotic toxicity.

According to Nahmias, the study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, was a “bright demonstration”; that bionics, combining sensors with human tissues, can “significantly speed up” drug development.

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