Breakthrough In Treatment For Kidney Dialysis Patients
A ground-breaking medical approach which could substantially improve the quality of life for over a million kidney dialysis patients, and bring huge savings to health services around the globe, is one step closer to becoming a reality, thanks to NESTA (the National Endowment of Science, Technology and the Arts) – the organisation that backs UK innovation.
NESTA has invested £95,000 in a university spin-out, Veryan Medical Limited, based at London’s Imperial College, to further develop their ground-breaking approach. The company has been financed to date by NPI Ventures Limited and Imperial College Innovations.
Veryan are dedicated to developing a number of novel medical devices to address urgent, unmet medical needs in the field of vascular disease, the greatest cause of death in the modern world. Their inventions are designed to recreate the natural swirling fluid flow of the body and prevent the development of disease. The first device to be tested in clinical human trials will be the SwirlGraft™ vascular access graft.
Currently, there are over one million people requiring regular connection to a kidney dialysis machine in order to sustain their lives. A majority of these patients have a synthetic vessel, called a vascular access graft, inserted beneath the skin to facilitate regular hypodermic puncturing and to maximize blood-flow to the dialysis machine. However, these grafts typically develop a potentially lethal disease, called ‘intimal hyperplasia’, which can block the downstream junction with the natural vessel in just a few months. This results in most grafts requiring replacement within a year, and many patients require remedial surgery up to three times a year.
SwirlGraft™ has the potential to be the most effective solution to this problem. By ensuring appropriate swirling blood flow through the dialysis graft and into the downstream vein, it stands to greatly reduce the disease by eliminating the stagnant flow regions where intimal hyperplasia proliferates.
The SwirlGraft™ device has been developed by Professor Colin Caro at Imperial College, and comes on the back of research dating back to 1966. Professor Caro is considered to be a world expert on the links between the physics of blood flow and disease. Veryan Medical is headed up by Philip Birch who brings substantial expertise of building and funding early stage healthcare companies.
NESTA’s investment will be used to develop the SwirlGraft™ device from the current experimental proof of concept through to clinical proof of concept. The trials will be based in the Netherlands and will involve 25 dialysis patients fitted with SwirlGraft™ for their vascular access, monitored for a year.
Mark White, NESTA’s Invention and Innovation Director, said: “We are delighted to be investing in a product which meets an urgent need for improved clinical performance, as well as bringing huge benefits to dialysis patients from around the world.”
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