It is pretty obvious that kidneys are important to our bodies which is why we need to take good care of them. However sometimes there are medications that can affect and damage our kidneys. For example according to the National Kidney Foundation, heavy/long-term usage of over-the-counter painkillers can eventually lead to kidney disease.
However the question is, how much is too much when it comes to drug doses? The good news is that researchers at the University of Michigan have recently developed what they are calling a “kidney on a chip”. Basically this is a specially-designed microchip that will be able to simulate the environment in our kidneys.
The idea is that by simulating the environment, it lets researchers and doctors test out various medicine doses to determine how much of a particular medicine a patient can take without damaging their kidneys. During their testing, the researchers actually found that an antibiotic called gentamicin was more harmful to the kidney when taken taken as a continuous infusion, compared to one large dose.
According to Shuichi Takayama, UM professor of biomedical engineering, “When you administer a drug, its concentration goes up quickly and it’s gradually filtered out as it flows through the kidneys. A kidney on a chip enables us to simulate that filtering process, providing a much more accurate way to study how medications behave in the body.”
Former UM researcher Sejoong Kim, who is now an associate professor at Korea’s Seoul National University Bundang Hospital adds, “Even the same dose of the same drug can have very different effects on the kidneys and other organs, depending on how it’s administered. This device provides a uniform, inexpensive way to capture data that more accurately reflects actual human patients.”