The breakthrough combined with other improvements to device portability could ultimately mean more freedom for patients with renal failure and less reliance on hospital based dialysis.
Dr Susan Sandeman, Reader in Biomaterials Science from the university’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, and university colleagues Dr Ganesh Ingavle and Miss Tochukwu Ozulumba, have been collaborating in the development of nano-thin 2D materials which trap urea molecules.
Efficient removal of urea is one of the key challenges associated with the development of the wearable kidney and cannot currently be achieved directly without first producing toxic ammonia.
These 2D nanomaterials, called MXenes, are a family of new transition metal carbide or nitride materials comprised of metals including titanium which are bonded to carbon and/or nitrogen with surface functional groups of oxygen, hydroxide or fluoride. These clay like materials were found to remove significant amounts of urea from kidney patient dialysate and showed good compatibility with human tissue.