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Bioartificial Renal Epithelial Cell System (BRECS): A Compact, Cryopreservable Extracorporeal Renal Replacement Device

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Renal cell therapy has shown clinical efficacy in the treatment of acute renal failure (ARF) and promise for treatment of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) by supplementing conventional small solute clearance (hemodialysis or hemofiltration) with endocrine and metabolic function provided by cells maintained in an extracorporeal circuit. A major obstacle in the widespread adoption of this therapeutic approach is the lack of a cryopreservable system to enable distribution, storage, and therapeutic use at point of care facilities. This report details the design, fabrication, and assessment of a Bioartificial Renal Epithelial Cell System (BRECS), the first all-in-one culture vessel, cryostorage device, and cell therapy delivery system. The BRECS was loaded with up to 20 cell-seeded porous disks, which were maintained by perfusion culture. Once cells reached over 5×106 cells/disk for a total therapeutic dose of approximately 108 cells, the BRECS was cryopreserved for storage at −80°C or −140°C. The BRECS was rapidly thawed, and perfusion culture was resumed. Near precryopreservation values of cell viability, metabolic activity, and differentiated phenotype of functional renal cells were confirmed postreconstitution. This technology could be extended to administer other cell-based therapies where metabolic, regulatory, or secretion functions can be leveraged in an immunoisolated extracorporeal circuit.
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Keywords: Acute renal failure; Bioreactor; Cryopreservation; End-stage renal disease; Extracorporeal cell therapy; Progenitor

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2012

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