Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara University

First Advisor

Maryam Mobed-Miremadi


Hundreds of thousands of individuals in the United States suffer from chronic kidney disease and must receive some form of treatment. There are two therapy options for treating kidney failure: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Both methods restrict the mobility of the user and require several hours to complete. The differences between these methods are the cost, efficiency and patient mobility. Peritoneal dialysis is more affordable than hemodialysis, but because it does not require blood contact, is less efficient as a treatment. However, hemodialysis requires much specialized equipment that is only located at a certified dialysis facility. Peritoneal dialysis is much less invasive and can be done at the patient’s home. The following project details a prototype packed bed reactor that would supplement current peritoneal dialysis treatments. The packed bed reactor utilizes an encapsulated enzyme (urease in alginate) in order to degrade a toxin, urea, found in the dialysis fluid (or dialysate). This device would be externally attached to the patient and aim to recycle the dialysate to increase the overall efficiency of peritoneal dialysis treatments. Both mechanical tests conducted on alginate and enzymatic tests on encapsulated urease separately showed promising results and allowed for initial packed bed reactor prototype testing. Enzyme activity is unimpaired, but capsule integrity decreases under physiological conditions over time. To improve capsule lifespan, a different divalent cation (BaCl2) was tested alongside the control of CaCl2. Preliminary results seem to indicate that BaCl2 does increase lifespan and does not affect enzyme activity. Replicate experiments will need to be performed to confirm these findings.