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Affordable dialysis project gains funding to move forward

An astounding 3.9 million USD has now been raised by a research team at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney Australia to support the development of a cost-efficient peritoneal dialysis system, giving hope to kidney disease patients desperately in need of treatment in the developing world.

According to data published in 2015 by the George Institute in The Lancet, every year up to seven million people die because they don’t have access to treatment. An award-winning innovation is set to offer a more cost-effective mobile dialysis system.

“The millions of avoidable kidney deaths around the world each year are mostly down to the cost of treatment – and they inspired our search for the world’s first really affordable dialysis,” says Professor John Knight, a children’s kidney specialist and senior researcher at The George Institute.

In 2015, ISN alongside The George Institute for Global Health and the Asian Pacific Society of Nephrology set up the Affordable Dialysis Prize with support from the Farrell Family Foundation. Read more about the project on the ISN Blog.

The objective was to design the world’s first truly affordable dialysis system. It needed to cost less than US$1000 to build at scale and provide treatment for less than $5 a day, be able to run on solar power, using any water source, yet be as safe and effective as existing dialysis systems.

Irish engineer based in Shanghai, Vincent Garvey, won the prize, creating an innovative system that includes a water purifier, care station and solar panel. He miniaturised and combined a number of existing processes to develop a system that is reliable, safe and cheap. His invention was also a finalist in Australia’s Eureka Prize for innovation in medical research in 2017.

Garvey has now taken out global patent protection and, with The George Institute, has set up Ellen Medical Devices to build a prototype and to commercialise the system. It is hoped trials will begin in 2018.

The company won a 1.6 million USD grant from the NSW Medical Devices Fund in August 2018, and has succeeded in attracting additional philanthropic support from other sources to a grand total of 3.9 million USD in development funding.  It is expected that clinical trials with volunteer dialysis patients will begin in 2020.

Parliament House Sydney

Watch more about this project and the grant scheme below.

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