[Updated: Award won:
1. National Award for Technology Innovation in the category of Polymer in public healthcare 2015
2. DST Lockheed Martin India Innovation Growth Program Award 2015 (video at the end of this post)]
Haemodialysis is a very expensive treatment procedure, administered to people suffering from end stage renal disease (ESRD). The crux of the problem lies in replacing the faltered kidney function with a cartridge driven mechanism to purify blood in an extracorporeal circuit. This cartridge has 7000 to 15,000 hollow fibres of 180-220 microns inner diameter and 15-35 micron thickness, thereby yielding a surface area of 1 m-square or more for filtration. The focus of the problem lies in the spinning of fibres of specific dimensions, which is also a proprietary technology of the manufacturing houses of such fibres. Usually, the spinning of fibres is carried out with spinerrets, which are thousands of dollars in terms of their cost. These cartridges are generally German, Japanese or Korean imports to India, and cost anything around 1500-2500 INR per cartridge. A person suffering from ESRD requires at least 3 dialysis sessions per week. Ideally a fresh new cartridge is desired for every session, but for a developing economy like India, where reuse is indeed the name of the game, one cartridge is used for two or three sessions. This has a twofold negative effect. One, it is extremely unhygienic for a single cartridge to put to use for multiple sessions. Secondly, fouling of membrane reduces the performance of the cartridge, thereby prolonging the receding sessions. Prolonged dialysis sessions challenge the patients’ capability to withstand the ordeal of the process.
To address this, IIT Kharagpur research team comprising of Professor S. De and Mr. Aniban Roy with able support from Dr. Liyod Vincent, Senior Consultant Nephrologist and Clinical Director Dialysis Services of Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital, and Dr. Shyam Vasudeva Rao, President and CTO, Forus Health Pvt. Ltd have come up with a novel technology titled, "Low cost spinning and fabrication of high efficiency (HE) haemodialysis cartidge." Its Indian Patent is filed on 11th July, 2014 and international filing process is underway.