Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Compact dialysis machine wins prestigious UK engineering award – ‘remarkable ingenuity’

Kidneys: Experts reveal something could be wrong

The kidney’s function is to filter harmful waste products and excess fluid from the blood, turning them into urine that can then be flushed out of the body. However, patients with kidney failure usually rely on the use of dialysis machines, in which blood is pumped out of the body to be mechanically filtered before returning to the body. The procedure is usually done in dialysis centers – and is done in long, hour-long steps that are repeated a few times a week. It is estimated that around 1.8 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

The problem with traditional hemodialysis machines is how they are the size of a small fridge-freezer and can weigh up to 200 pounds, making them portable and not suitable for home use.

It forces patients to build their lives around regular hospital visits, and creates a “killer gap” when treatment is available in hospitals over the weekend.

Quanta Dialysis Technologies has overcome this problem by developing a portable machine – the “SC+” – that is only the size of a small microwave oven and is far easier for patients and caregivers to train to use.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the machine’s development is the pneumatic membrane pump technology it was first developed to mix with very precise amounts of water to deliver beverages such as orange juice.

Developers of a revolutionary compact dialysis machine have won the prestigious Macrobert Prize (Image credit: Quanta Dialysis Technologies)

An artist's kidney impression

The function of the kidneys is to remove harmful waste products and excess fluids from the blood. (Image: Getty Images)

The advantage of the team’s solution for beverage delivery came in the fact that it used disposable plastic liquid cartridges that removed the need to clean the plumbing each night for hygiene purposes.

However, researchers soon realized that the exact same technique could also be applied to dialysis – a process that pumps and mixes fluids in precise proportions.

And replacing the plumbing and valves in the traditional hemodialysis setup with the team’s disposable cartridge technology helped them significantly reduce the weight and size of their dialysis machine.

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In addition, engineers have reported that the ability to send patients home for dialysis themselves could save up to 25 per cent in costs for the NHS.

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a conventional hemodialysis machine

The problem with traditional hemodialysis machines is how they are shaped like a fridge. (Image: Getty Images)

Those who have used SC+ have said that they really value the control over their own treatment that the success tool provides them.

An anonymous patient said: “It was absolutely exhausting and it took so long to wait for transport and go to the hospital constantly.

“It was also in the middle of covid so I was alone and I could not have my family with me.

“Now I can fit my dialysis into my life more easily. I like to stay at home, I can spend time with my family and do the things I love – [now] I usually play video games while on dialysis.

“I also feel able to start looking for volunteer opportunities now and plan to eventually go back to work.”

Quanta Team and Princess Anne at the Awards

Quanta Dialysis Technologies were announced as the Macrobert Prize winners on 12 July this year (image: Royal Academy of Engineering)

The SC+ machine has already been approved for use in professional healthcare settings by the Food and Drug Administration in the US, where it has begun to go on sale – the US dialysis market expected to exceed $12 billion (£10 billion). Is.

Here in the UK, meanwhile, Quanta Dialysis Technologies has begun working with 16 different NHS trusts across the country to introduce the system to British homes and health care settings.

In fact, during the recent COVID-19 lockdown, the firm provided its entire UK SC+ system stock to the NHS to help relieve pressure on hospitals and intensive care units.

Quanta Dialysis CEO John Milad told Express.co.uk that winning this year’s Macrobert Award was “really valid”.

He added: “It gives us fresh energy and vigor. It’s a good moment to stop and reflect on the hill we’ve climbed so far. ,

With this achievement, he said, the team is now looking at scaling the SC+ so that it can provide dialysis data to physicians remotely, and also employing a proprietary water purification module that allows the machine to work in any setting. will allow. Faucet, conduit and power source.

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John Milad, CEO of Quanta Dialysis

John Milad tells Express.co.uk that winning this year’s Macrobert Prize was ‘really valid’ (Image: Twitter / @jemilad)

The McRobert Award, first presented in 1969, is administered by the Royal Academy of Engineering with the support of the Worship Company of Engineers.

Quanta Dialysis Technologies were announced as the winners at the Academy’s awards dinner held at the Londoner Hotel in Leicester Square on 12 July this year.

As part of the prize, the team was presented with a gold medal and a cash prize of £50,000.

The other two finalists this year were Oxford Instruments, which has developed a detector that integrates with a scanning electron microscope and allows faster and better material analysis, and Intelligent Growth Solutions, which has developed “vertical farms” for precision agriculture. We do.

Past winners of the award include Rolls-Royce for the engine used in the iconic Harrier jump jet and Freeman, Fox and Partners for the design of the Severn Bridge.

Professor Sir Richard Friend, Chair of the Macrobert Award Judging Panel, said: “This UK-based global health technology success story, which traces the technology developed for the first time for use in fruit juice dispensers, is of remarkable engineering ingenuity. performs.

“The recent success has come on the back of Quanta’s significant journey as a company.

“The team has been working for a decade to develop a machine that dramatically improves patient care and quality of life, relieves pressure on hospitals, and demonstrates the enormous commercial potential that can be achieved with state-of-the-art engineering. can unlock.

“The team exemplifies the persistence, innovation and unconventional thinking that have long been hallmarks of the UK’s biggest engineering success stories and are deserving winners of the Macrobert Prize.”

Nation World News Desk
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