This device will replace the need for dialysis and kidney transplantation both of which have major detractions. Our device eliminates these issues. Transplantation, costing close to $110,000, removes the personnel and institutional costs associated with dialysis. Yet, it has significant fixed costs for anti-rejection drugs, approaching $20,000/year if all goes well and greater than $82,000/year if rejection sets in. There are also variable costs associated with increased rates of infection and cancer from the immunosuppressives. The cost for non compliance with these medications approaches that of re-transplantation. This device eliminates the need for anti-rejection drugs as there are no biological constituents to cause rejection. The device is implantable, has no moving parts, no filters to replace, no inlet/outlet fluids to manage, no biological cells to consider with rejection, malignant potential or senescence and mitigates clotting. It will allow patients to return to a more normal life. A continuation of the patent for external use is in process to address the remaining dialysis market and many other non-medical applications of the technology. Hence, the huge advantage of this device is the quality of life it returns to the patient, the significant cost savings to payers for ongoing treatment and anti-rejection drugs.
The core of the device is a grouping of nanotube pods in a biocompatible housing, placed between 2 arteries or artery and vein. The tubes have pores designed to allow passage of ions and middle molecules (the toxins that accumulate in kidney failure such as urea) with their hydration shells assisted by electrical fields controlled by a microprocessor and responding to detected blood levels of ions and molecules. The ions and molecules, responding to alterations in the electrical fields along the nanotube walls, will preferentially move to the interior of the nanotube and by mass action move along the interior of the tube to a point where tubes are confluent and pores are absent. From this point the trapped and accumulated collection of ions/molecules and water will pass into the native ureter and out via the usual anatomical routes.
What sets this technology apart from other current efforts to change the treatment landscape is it is implantable, non biological and has far reaching applications outside the field of medicine. All this arrangement needs for therapeutic effect is passing blood flow; there is no need for pressurization, filters, counter current flow of dialysate fluid or osmotic gradients. Passing blood flow in contact with the tubes, appropriate electrical fields and time will function to extract the necessary ions and molecules ongoing and incrementally. Fluid intake would be self managed by drinking as is normally done. There will be liganded anticoagulant on the blood facing areas to prevent/diminish clotting.
Other technologies either try to make dialysis more available such as ambulatory peritoneal dialysis cyclers or wearable units, but the problems still remain. This is an improvement over cyborg kidney replacement as there are no cells that can have immunoloical potential, inevitably die off with senescence or any malignant potential.