Platinum’s unique properties
Platinum is the ‘go to’ metal for many medical components and devices, including pacemakers and cochlear implants, due to its unique physical and chemical properties. It is an excellent electrical conductor and, because of its purity, it is also highly biocompatible. This means that platinum is well tolerated by the human body and unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. In addition, platinum is inert and does not corrode inside the body.
Attempts to make an artificial kidney have been unsuccessful in the past; it is a very challenging and complex area of medicine, as each kidney has more than one million nephrons. However, this latest breakthrough is significant as, for the first time, it creates nano structures that filter the blood in a way similar to biological nephrons.
Researchers believe that their discovery could have the potential to work as a stand-alone device or in conjunction with dialysis, with minor modifications allowing it to function as a wearable, and potentially implantable, artificial kidney.