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Big steps towards a wearable kidney – Kidney Research UK

Helping patients feel better

While having a machine that could be more easily used away from hospital or home is highly desirable, Grazia’s research also has the potential to reduce the gruelling side effects of haemodialysis such as fatigue and sickness.  

“Dialysis is designed to replicate the blood-filtering function of the kidneys, but a key difference is that a healthy kidney is working all the time while haemodialysis patients only receive treatment three times a week.” Grazia continued: “By the time of their next scheduled treatment not only is their body full of toxins but their blood pressure is very high. Four hours isn’t long enough to be on dialysis in terms of cleaning the blood, but it’s impossible for patients to have haemodialysis 24 hours a day. Having a device that is portable would allow more frequent dialysis over longer periods of time; this could drastically reduce the side effects of the treatment. It could also enable patients to have a degree of control over their own treatment administering it at a time that suits them.” 

The team in Edinburgh hope to have completed shortlisting the best materials in the next two years. From there, laboratory research will confirm the most effective material and the team will be ready to test it in a portable device. 

This project is funded through a Stoneygate-Kidney Research UK project grant of £180,000.