SEATTLE — The House has authorized a $10 million infusion for the KidneyX Innovation Accelerator Project, Representative Suzan DelBene, D-Washington, announced here during the Innovations in Dialysis: Expediting Advances Symposium. DelBene is co-chair of the Congressional Kidney Caucus in the House.
“We have a lot of work to do,” she told attendees. The money is part of a funding bill the House approved recently, and the bill has gone to the Senate for consideration, she said.
KidneyX, supported by both HHS and the American Society of Nephrology, will open up a request for applications in September for three KidneyX research prizes worth $500,000 each.
“We believe that the [funding] bill will spark innovation,” she told attendees.
The purpose of the caucus, she said, is to educate legislators on the issues facing the treatment of kidney disease “and talking about the federal government’s role in making sure that patients have access to treatment and that there is money available for research,” she said. “Unfortunately, it has been more than 50 years since a major advance in dialysis ... The treatment for end-stage renal disease hasn’t really changed a lot since then and the current care model is not sustainable financially. We want to see better outcomes for our patients.”
The cost for dialysis care today — around $114 billion a year in 2016, DelBene said — could cover the annual NIH budget for 3 years.
“If we cured kidney disease, we could fund the NIH three-fold. I’m hopeful that KidneyX will be the spark,” she said. – by Mark E. Neumann