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REdefining haemoDIALysis with data-driven materials innovation: towards miniaturisation and the wearable artificial kidney (REDIAL)

20 July 2023

With a joint Kidney Research UK-Stoneygate grant of £180,000, Professor Grazia de Angelis from the University of Edinburgh is working on new materials to support the development of a wearable artificial kidney.

The problem

There has been very little innovation in dialysis since the 1960s and due to the waiting time for kidney transplants, most people with end-stage kidney disease will require a period of dialysis. Although home dialysis offers advantages over haemodialysis in terms of reducing time spent in hospital, it is a time-consuming process and the equipment is bulky so patients who home dialyse must have sufficient storage space.

A portrait headshot of Professor de Angelis
Professor de Angelis

The solution

Grazia and her team want to take a new approach to dialysis; their ultimate aim is to develop a portable artificial kidney. The researchers will employ computer-based technologies known as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to predict which filtration materials will best support a newer, more compact dialysis machine. Using AI to assess potential filters will speed up development and hopefully lead to cost savings. 

What this means for patients

Smaller dialysis machines would help more patients access home treatment. New filter materials may enable night-time dialysis sessions, offering quality-of-life benefits. Grazia and her team hope to use this grant to take a huge step towards developing a wearable artificial kidney, freeing patients from a restrictive dialysis schedule while potentially offering other safety and tolerability benefits.

“Many patients rely on dialysis when their kidneys fail, but current equipment is bulky and largely unchanged since it Was first introduced. This Kidney Research UK-Stoneygate grant will allow us to take a new look at dialysis machines by using artificial intelligence to support the development of smaller, more portable devices." Professor de Angelis

Find out more

You can find more information about living with kidney disease here.

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