Buddy D. Ratner
Center for Dialysis Innovation (CDI)
University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials (UWEB)
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 98195 USA
Kidney hemodialysis originated in Seattle in 1960 where the first successful chronic dialysis took place leading to the world’s first hemodialysis center. Before chronic dialysis people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) had no options to live beyond about 3 weeks. Chronic dialysis made it possible to sustain the lives of such patients. Now we have some 2,000,000 people worldwide on chronic dialysis. But there are significant concerns. The average lifetime of a patient starting dialysis is 4-5 years due to complications of dialysis. Patients do not feel good while being sustained on dialysis therapy with complications including nausea, itching, fatigue, muscle aches, etc. Dialysis is expensive costing the planet $100B or more per year in direct expenses. Finally, due to the expensive and complex nature of dialysis therapy, there are as many as 7.1 million people with ESRD who die each year due to lack of access to this therapy. The University of Washington Center for Dialysis Innovation (CDI) was established in 2017 to address the complications, complexity, expense and inequities of hemodialysis. Many of the complications are associated with biomaterials issues including blood compatibility, biofouling, healing and blood access. The CDI seeks to address these issues with advanced biomaterials, improved assessment and a complete redesign of kidney dialysis apparatus. We call our new design the AKTIV (Ambulatory Kidney To Improve Vitality), a wearable device permitting 24/7 blood cleansing in an active patient. Important to our mission to transform kidney dialysis in 5 years is laying the foundation for clinical tests and commercialization of the AKTIV.