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Kidney care receives innovation boost

Pioneering solutions addressing the life-changing effects of kidney failure are now underway thanks to a national funding competition.

D4DThe 14 winners have been announced today, as part of a £3.6m competition funded by the Department of Health through the Small Business Research Initiative and managed by the National Institute for Health Research Devices for Dignity Healthcare Technology Co-operative (NIHR Devices for Dignity HTC). One of the winners was IF Sensing Ltd - a spin out company led by Dr Sandip Mitra and Professor Paul Brenchley from Manchester Royal Infirmary, to fund a device for monitoring renal function at home allowing out of hospital monitoring of kidney function

The aim of the competition is to help the 5,000 people diagnosed with kidney failure every year. There are currently 41,000 patients in England receiving treatment for kidney failure.

The loss of kidney function is a life changing event that can result in life-long dependence on healthcare for the patient. Innovations in earlier diagnosis of kidney disease could reduce the number of affected individuals while others can give patients with kidney failure greater independence and enable treatment closer to home.

Although end-stage renal failure affects only 0.05% of the general population it commands 1-2% of the annual NHS Budget.

Lord Howe, Health Minister, said:

"Innovation is essential for improving treatments and finding new cures, so I am delighted that the NIHR Devices for Dignity HTC is awarding these funds to help develop technologies that can make a difference to patients suffering with kidney disease. This will also build on Britain's reputation as a world leader in science, research and development. I look forward to learning more about the progress and success of this initiative now that these winners have been announced."

Three of the 14 winners of the competition are aimed at the prevention of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI). It is estimated that 4.9% of hospital patients have AKI and severe cases are associated with a 10-20% chance of death within one year.

Another of the projects funded will see the development of a test for kidney disease progression in patients with diabetes, the most common cause of kidney failure.

The remaining 10 successful projects aim to improve patient independence and quality of life of people with kidney disease. These projects spread across all areas of renal medicine from pre-dialysis, haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis and transplantation.

David Coyle, a patient who has suffered with kidney disease for over 25 years, was a judge on the competition. David said: "I was delighted to be asked to use my kidney patient knowledge and experience as a judge on the D4D selection panel to identify innovative ideas to use technology to benefit patients.

"The competition has produced some truly excellent technology initiatives which, I believe, will greatly transform patient welfare and facilitate greater independence. D4D has found a winning formula to leverage technology for the benefit of patients at every stage of renal disease."

To see the full list of winners visit the  Medilink website.