Bioengineered Renal Cell Therapy Device for Clinical Translation
The bioartificial renal epithelial cell system (BRECS) is a cell-based device to treat acute kidney injury through renal cell therapy from an extracorporeal circuit. To enable widespread implementation of cell therapy, the BRECS was designed to be cryopreserved as a complete device, cryostored, cryoshipped to an end-use site, thawed as a complete device, and employed in a therapeutic extracorporeal hemofiltration circuit. This strategy overcomes storage and distribution issues that have been previous barriers to cell therapy. Previous BRECS housings produced by computer numerical control (CNC) machining, a slow process taking hours to produce one bioreactor, was also prohibitively expensive (>$600/CNC-BRECS); major obstacles to mass production. The goal of this study was to produce a BRECS to be mass produced by injection-molded BRECS (IM-BRECS), decreasing cost (<$20/unit), and improving manufacturing speed (hundreds of units/h), while maintaining the same cell therapy function as the previous CNC-BRECS, first evaluated through prototypes produced by stereolithography BRECS (SLA-BRECS). The finalized IM-BRECS design had a significantly lower fill volume (10 ml), mass (49 g), and footprint (8.5 cm × 8.5 cm × 1.5 cm), and was demonstrated to outperform the previous BRECS designs with respect to heat transfer, significantly improving control of cooling during cryopreservation and reducing thaw times during warming. During in vitro culture, IM-BRECS performed similarly to previous CNC-BRECS with respect to cell metabolic activity (lactate production, oxygen consumption, and glutathione metabolism) and amount of cells supported.