Researchers and developers at the Center for Dialysis Innovation at the University of Washington in Seattle, one of the winners in the KidneyX competition, are developing the Ambulatory Kidney to Improve Vitality, an external, wearable, miniaturized dialysis system that the developers hope will be “low-cost, water-efficient, requires minimal anticoagulation, offers complication-free blood access and [be] patient-friendly.”
In an interview with Healio/Nephrology, Jonathan Himmelfarb, MD, a chief investigator on the project, said the group is in the second year of developing the device.
“We have put together a world-class team to work on this wearable kidney and set a goal of having the [Ambulatory Kidney to Improve Vitality] AKTIV ready in 5 years for trials,” Himmelfarb said. “We are at the stage where we still need time to do more research and development.”
The researchers said they hope the device will allow for “almost unlimited mobility, dramatically reduce pharmaceutical burden and reduce dietary restrictions.” Once available, however, Himmelfarb acknowledges that the AKTIV will not be for everyone. “Renal replacement therapies should not be about one size fits all. What we are doing is trying to create more options.”
Devices like the AKTIV would create mobility for many patients.
“Most patients don’t want to be doing dialysis tied to a chair. They want to be able to live their life while getting their treatment. And that is where the wearable, portable, implantable devices can be transformative because you would not be tied to being at home,” Himmelfarb said.
Other researchers on the project include Buddy Ratner, PhD; Larry Kessler, ScD; Kassandra Thomson, PhD; Glenda V. Roberts and Anna Galperin, PhD. – by Mark E. Neumann