Lausanne, Switzerland – With over 3 million people worldwide suffering from End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and nowhere near enough organ donors, almost 2.5 million patients have no alternative but hemodialysis. To overcome this issue, three international innovators, Debiotech of Switzerland, AWAK of Singapore and Neokidney Development, an initiative of the Dutch Kidney Foundation, have joined forces to develop and deliver to patients the world's first portable artificial kidney.
The companies have signed a joint venture agreement to complete a functional model in 2015. Clinical trials are planned for 2017. The portable artificial kidney will enable the frequent and longer home hemodialysis that significantly improves and extends patients' lives. The impact of such an innovative product on patients' health, autonomy, quality of life, and life expectancy could be immense.
The joint venture will deliver a compact dialysis machine that patients can use themselves, directly at home. Scientific research has already established that frequent and longer dialysis (e.g. at night) limits the treatment's side effects, including dialysis hangover and cardiovascular stress, and increases both autonomy and life expectancy. Moreover, home (nighttime) hemodialysis is considerably cheaper than in-center treatment. The portable artificial kidney developed by the partnership will finally bring these benefits within the reach of patients and society.
Together, the partners have all the technology, expertise, and resources needed. The new system will be based on Debiotech's DialEase, a highly miniaturized, easy-to-use and cost effective machine for peritoneal home dialysis that is close to be on the market. AWAK contributes its novel sorbent technology, which will enable the system to use much less dialysate (about 4 litres compared to the 40-60 litres required by existing alternatives) and eliminate the need for expensive purification systems.
This is a huge step forwards, to self-management and better and longer lives. Importantly: the portable cycler that is been developed in the joint venture establishes a platform for future (and continuous) improvement in treatment quality, i.e. removal of ever more and trickier toxins.