US issues patent for wearable artificial kidney
The United States Patent Office has issued a patent to Victor Gura, MD, FASN, for a wearable artificial kidney, and the nephrologist said he wants to begin a clinical trial later this year to test the third-generation device.
Gura, an associate clinical professor of medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and his company, Wearable Artificial Organs Inc., were issued patent number 10,993,183 for “combination wearable and stationary dialysis systems,” according to the patent office website.
The nephrologist told Healio Nephrology he has been working on reducing the weight and streamlining the mechanisms of the wearable artificial kidney, or WAK, for the past 20 years. He held small clinical trials around the world after animal testing of the prototype 1.0 – which weighed more than 200 pounds – was replaced with version 2.0, which weighed 11 pounds. It was tested in three clinical trials in Vicenza, Italy; London and Seattle.
The latest version, WAK 3.0, weighs 2 pounds and is powered by a rechargeable battery.
“We are delighted with this new version of the WAK,” Gura said in a press release. “It will free patients from spending lengthy hours in bed or an armchair, tied up to a big machine in a dialysis clinic.”
“A miniaturized, battery-operated wearable artificial kidney (WAK) can improve patient autonomy and has the potential to improve quality of life and reduce mortality,” he said.
In his description of the device for the patent, Gura said the WAK is “a system for hemodialysis [that] can include a first dialysis system and a second dialysis system configured to be used in alternate fashion to provide hemodialysis for a patient, wherein the first dialysis system is configured to be worn by the patient, and wherein the second dialysis system is configured to be positioned on a support independent of the patient.
“The first dialysis system can be configured to be coupled to a belt worn by the patient around [the] waist of the patient during its operation. The second dialysis system can [be] configured to be coupled to a stationary support during its operation,” according to the patent description.
“The WAK will provide different levels of dialysis during the day and at night,” Gura told Healio Nephrology. “During the day, there will be low, continuous filtration. At night, the dialysis will be more thorough.”
The device uses a rechargeable battery.
Gura said he hopes the pending trial will show the light weight and the small size of the WAK allows dialysis therapy to be done “at any time, in any place.”