Artificial cells are prepared in the laboratory for medical and biotechnological applications. The earliest routine clinical use of artificial cells is in the form of coated activated charcoal for hemoperfusion. Implantation of encapsulated cells are being studied for the treatment of diabetes, liver failure and the use of encapsulated genetically engineered cells for gene therapy. We recently found that daily orally administered artificial cells containing a genetically engineered microorganism can lower the elevated urea level in uremic rats to normal levels and increase the survival of the animal. Furthermore, this can remove potassium, phosphate, uric acid and other waste metabolites from uremic plasma. Blood substitutes based on modified hemoglobin are already in phase-III clinical trials in patients with as much as 20 units infused into each patient during trauma surgery. Artificial cells containing enzymes are being developed for clinical trials in hereditary enzyme deficiency diseases and other diseases. Artificial cells are also being investigated for drug delivery and other uses in biotechnology, chemical engineering and medicine.