October 02, 2018
2 min read

New kidney research initiatives unveiled at Capitol Hill summit

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A recent gathering of health care agencies and kidney care advocacy groups on Capitol Hill helped to launch some new initiatives for improving kidney care in the future.

The Congressional Kidney Care Caucus, a group of legislators who have an interest in kidney care issues, hosted the event in cooperation with Kidney Care Partners (KCP), the American Society of Nephrology, the Renal Physicians Association, and the American Association of Kidney Patients. The program included the announcement that HHS and the American Society of Nephrology would commit $2,625,000 in prize money for “KidneyX: Redesign Dialysis,” a prize competition that challenges the public to develop better treatment options for patients with kidney failure.

“This is the kidney community’s ‘moon shot,’” said KCP chair Allen Nissenson, MD, during the program. “Our community and the 40 million Americans who are living with kidney disease are long overdue for new ways to tackle this disease, and we are pleased with the momentum we’re seeing on several important fronts, including the exciting progress with KidneyX at HHS.”

KCP is supporting the Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research & Treatment Act (H.R. 2644 and S. 1890), which would, among other things, increase access to the Medicare Kidney Disease Education Benefit by increasing the number of health care professionals qualified to provide kidney disease education services.

ASN president Mark D. Okusa, MD, noted the potential for progress in innovation with KidneyX and the Kidney Precision Medicine Project launched by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. He said the two programs were “aimed at spurring new developments in the care for people with kidney diseases.” KidneyX, he said, “will foster multidisciplinary collaboration to accelerate innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases.”

The KidneyX competition is the first in a series designed to develop innovative solutions that can prevent, diagnose, and/or treat kidney diseases, according to an HHS press release.

“With this first prize, KidneyX: Redesign Dialysis, we are looking for solutions that completely disrupt the way kidney failure is currently treated,” said Ed Simcox, HHS chief technology officer, during the summit. “We are asking innovators like engineers and scientists to propose and develop new technologies to redesign treatment for kidney failure. We look forward to seeing what the best and brightest envision for the future of kidney failure treatment in the first phase of Redesign Dialysis.”

“In addition to redesigning dialysis, we are also redesigning how HHS tackles complex problems,” added KidneyX program director Sandeep Patel, MD. “Innovators currently must navigate a disjointed and expensive path to bring new products and practices to market.”

The Redesign Dialysis prize will run in two phases. The first phase, which will award up to 15 prizes of $75,000 each, will launch in late October and run through February 2019. HHS asks participants to design solutions or components of solutions that can replicate normal kidney functions and improve patient quality of life. The second phase, planned to run from April 2019 to January 2020, will ask participants to develop initial prototypes; this phase will award up to three prizes of $500,000 each. Submissions for the first phase of the Redesign Dialysis prize will launch on Oct. 25 at ASN Kidney Week.

For more information on the ReDesign Dialysis prize, visit hhs.gov/idealab.