Professor Dimitros Stamatialis from the University of Twente has designed a new haemodialysis filter, in collaboration with the Dutch Kidney Foundation (Nierstichting). His core focus has been to design dialysis filters that are more versatile and can even be used outside the hospital.
Current haemodialysis not only holds the patients at the dialysis centre for upto three days a week, but also removes only 5-10% of waste products from the blood stream. This residual waste can cause cardiovascular disease, exhaustion and itching that people with kidney failure suffer from. To counter this problem Stamatialis introduced a couple of features; firstly, he added a layer of activated carbon to the filter. Research shows that this method removes 2-3 times the number of large particles as compared to the conventional method. Additionally, he turned the filter inside out, "Research into this is still ongoing, but the first results are good: fewer blood clots are formed, which clogs the filter less”.
As of now Stamatialis' filter is a small version with 30 units(a normal filter consists of 30,000 filter units) and has been tested with bags of blood. Another approach his lab is trying is to add a certain substance to the activated carbon that traps the bacteria away from tap water. This would alleviate the need for hundreds of litres of sterilised dialysis fluid, just bags of the ingredients that you can dissolve with tap water. This would be a big leap towards making it portable.
The goal for the next five years would be to make the filter on a large scale, then in another five years he aims for these filters to be used in the clinics. “I have a good ten years before I retire and before then , I want to make better haemodialysis possible!”
This research falls under the TechMed strategic impulse programme KETs4PM on 'Personalised Renal Health' at the University of Twente, of which Prof Dr Dimitrios Stamatialis is the coordinator. Prof Dimitrios is also the professor of (Bio)artificial organs in the Advanced Organ Bioengineering and Therapeutics (AOT) department.