William Chang, MD, PhD, is a recipient of Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX) Summit’s Artificial Kidney Prize Phase 2 for research on engineering bioartificial kidneys. He was one of eight recipients who will share a $9.2 million prize announced at the organization’s event in Washington, D.C. in June.
KidneyX is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Society of Nephrology.
Chang’s research titled, “Engineering bioartificial kidneys: Combining kidney organoids and peritoneal dialysis” proposes how kidney organoids derived from stem cells can be used to replace tissue in those suffering from end-stage renal disease and to improve the medical care of those on dialysis.
“The research is really just the beginning of this area of investigation, but the overall concept is to improve peritoneal dialysis by incorporating kidney organoids so that kidney tissue filtrate can be removed using peritoneal dialysis catheters,” said Chang, assistant professor of medicine (nephrology). “Combining tissue engineering, stem cell technology and clinical nephrology, I want to determine what is the therapeutic potential of the approach that I've proposed.”
End-stage renal disease, or kidney failure, occurs when the kidneys lose their ability to filter waste and excess fluids from the blood. This decrease in function can happen over time. Chang says that for most patients, kidney transplantation is the best option, but people can be on a kidney transplant waitlist for years, because there are not enough available organs for those in need. In addition to a shortage of organs, there are other cons as well.
“Transplantation also requires immunosuppression which can make patients more susceptible to infections or the development of cancer,” explains Chang. “Most patients with kidney failure need dialysis, but overall mortality remains too high for those on dialysis. The hope is that this approach will be an alternative to kidney transplantation and improve overall health and survival for patients.”
The hope is that this approach will be an alternative to kidney transplantation and improve overall health and survival for patients.
Chang joined the Section of Nephrology as faculty in 2012, after completing both residency and fellowship at Yale.
“Dr. Chang has been with the department since his residency, and he’s brought a really unique perspective and research focus to the Yale Nephrology program. Bioengineering approaches to developing improved care for patients with kidney failure are still in the early stages, and we are very proud of Dr. Chang’s creativity and determination in pushing this field forward. He is a very innovative thinker.” said Stefan Somlo, MD, C. N. H. Long Professor of Medicine (Nephrology) and professor of genetics; chief, Section of Nephrology.
Department Chair Gary V. Désir, MD, added that Chang’s research has potential for significant impact for kidney diseases and care. “Incorporating a patient’s own kidney cells into the peritoneal dialysis process could markedly increase the quality and efficiency of dialysis and lead to better outcomes. With the shortage of kidneys, Dr. Chang’s research could have a significant impact in advancing kidney care. We look forward to the outcome of his investigations.”
Chang is excited to join the KidneyX community and improve the overall health and care for those with kidney diseases and disorders.
“I’m proud to be a part of the KidneyX community–the researchers, advocates, and patients that want to make things better for patients with kidney disease. Now I'm very excited to get the work done to make progress on this important medical problem.”
Yale’s Section of Nephrology is committed to excellence in patient care, research, and education with the goal for both their faculty and trainees to be national and international leaders in the field of academic nephrology. To learn more about their mission and work, visit Nephrology.