Mutua Madrileña Foundation supports a Bellvitge project that will promote the clinical use of bioartificial kidneys

The study, led by Dr. Miguel Hueso, will help create alternatives to organ donation and dialysis for the treatment of chronic diseases, and the development of new drugs.


Today, July 9, the Mutua Madrileña Foundation presented the Grants for Health Research. In this twenty-first edition, the Foundation supported the work of 18 research institutes and hospitals throughout Spain. The projects have been selected by the Foundation’s scientific committee in key areas such as cancer immunotherapy, transplant immunotolerance, bioartificial organs, traumatology, rare childhood diseases and the mental health of young people.

Dr. Miguel Hueso, principal investigator of the Nephrology and Kidney Transplantation research group at IDIBELL and nephrologist at Bellvitge University Hospital, has been one of the beneficiaries in the bioartificial organs category for his project “BioDigital Synergy: promotion for the clinical use of Bioartificial Kidneys integrating Organs-on-Chip, computational models and digital twins”.

This collaborative initiative involves teams from five Spanish research centers that will work together to develop experimental and computational models of the kidney, the latter known as digital twins. The aim of this study is to have tools that support clinical decisions, accelerate the development of new drugs, and contribute to the development of bioartificial organs.

The researchers will first create a kidney-on-a-chip, a miniaturized device that replicates the function of the human organ in the lab. In this way, it will be possible to study diseases and test drugs in a quick, flexible and efficient manner. These are microfluidic platforms that simulate the complexity and behavior of organs, surpassing traditional cell cultures and animal models.

Thanks to this platform, it will be possible, for example, to study the viability of cells and their ability to detoxify the blood and concentrate fluids. With the data obtained, a digital twin of the kidney will be prepared that will combine the precision of bioengineering with the latest innovations in computer science and virtual reality.

These technologies will be very useful for personalizing medical treatments, adjusting therapies to the specific needs of each patient. They will also serve to evaluate the efficacy and safety of new drugs before they are administered to people, improving accuracy in clinical trials and speeding up the drug development process.

Finally, all the knowledge generated and the 3D printing of cells will be used to create a device that can be used as a bioartificial organ. In the long term, these tools made with biocompatible materials and advanced technology are expected to reduce dependance on organ donation and dialysis equipment for people with chronic kidney disease.

In addition to researchers from IDIBELL and the Bellvitge University Hospital, the consortium includes professionals from the La Paz University Hospital in Madrid, the Aragón Health Research Institute, the Foundation for Applied Medical Research of Navarra, and the University of Extremadura.

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