For people facing chronic kidney disease and is kept alive with the help of dialysis machines on the hospital beds, will now be given freedom to move as a fist sized artificial kidney will be available in the market by the end of the decade.
On Wednesday, at the Tanker annual charity and awards night, Dr Shuvo Roy, co-inventor of the device and researcher at University of California, San Francisco, said that the device is being engineered in the US and will go through a series of safety and efficacy trials on hundreds of patients in the country before getting an approval by the FDA.
The device that can be implanted in the abdomen and will be powered by the heart is designed to filter the blood and perform other kidney functions, including production of hormones, and help assist in blood pressure control. Unlike conventional haemodialysis, which merely filters toxins from the blood, the artificial kidney has a membrane that filters the blood and a bio-reactor comprising living kidney cells that are exposed to the blood during dialysis.
“It performs the job of a kidney more holistically than just conventional dialysis,” he said in a hall filled with doctors, paramedics and patients.
The final stage of chronic kidney disease, called end-stage renal disease, is when the kidneys are no longer able to remove enough wastes and excess fluids from the body. At this point, patients are put on dialysis, sometimes up to three times a week, as a bridge to transplant. Increasing incidence of diabetes and hypertension has been pushing up chronic kidney disease among many patients.
It may be mentioned that every year, nearly 2.5 lakh persons in India die due to kidney problem. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two main causes which account for many deaths. The cost of treating end-stage kidney disease through dialysis or a kidney transplant is enormous.
“Getting an organ is still not easy. So patients with end-stage renal diseases will have to be on regular dialysis and medicines,” said nephrologist Dr Georgie Abraham.
Although Roy wasn’t able to give patients a ballpark figure on cost, he said it will be much less than regular dialysis and transplant.