IIT-B’s new breakthrough to cut dialysis cost by 50%

In a bid to solve the acute crisis faced by dialysis patients, the engineers from IIT-B have developed a unique technology that promises to cut dialysis costs by 50 percent

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Prof. Jayesh Bellare, lead researcher, IIT Bombay

With the number of Indian diabetics to hit 101 million by 2030, there is a huge demand for dialysis and kidney treatments. According to data published by a hemodialyzer manufacturing company, around 42 percent of the world's kidney sufferers are present in the Asia Pacific region. 60 percent of the patients of chronic kidney diseases (CKD) in India are either diabetic or suffer from high blood pressure.

The dialysis market in India is expected to witness a robust growth in the coming years. The demand for dialysis is growing at a rate of 31 percent compared to 6 percent in the US and 8 percent in the rest of the world. The evolving dialysis market in offers remarkable growth opportunities due to factors such as increase in healthcare affordability, government initiatives, and presence of a large patient base.

According to an AIIMS study, around 90 percent of the 2, 30,000 people who develop kidney failure in India die due to high cost of treatments. Many local healthcare providers like Apollo and Fortis have increased their dialysis centers to meet the demand, however due to the high cost, these treatments are inaccessible to the poor.

Delivery of dialysis services is pathetically poor in this country making new research and cutting edge technologies for kidney treatments a ‘crying need.' The dialyzers necessary for treatment are imported and this further enhances the cost of the treatments. A sizeable number of patients suffering from kidney failure are unable to undergo dialysis treatment regularly as the facilities are provided mainly in private hospitals and the cost of the treatment in these hospitals is much more than in government hospitals. For the 1.2 billion population of the country, India has less than 1,000 nephrologists. The process of dialysis alone has over a hundred processes and protocols that need continuous monitoring, thus making renal care supremely complex and expensive and, thereby, rendering the Indian market unrewarding.

"The Indian and global markets for dialysis are huge," added Prof. Bellare, "The Indian market alone for hemodialysis is estimated to be around $152 million. Many advantages offered by this hemodialyzer will make it attractive for patients suffering from kidney failure, and also those running and planning to set up dialysis centers. This may help to sharply increase the growth of global dialysis market as it can be made more affordable and thereby can reach a large section of the population at the base of the pyramid who suffer from this unfortunate condition."

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