HHS Focus on Redesigning Dialysis Can Help Improve the Lives of Kidney Patients

Innovation Awards announced at KidneyX Summit
New York, NY, April 29, 2019—Today at the KidneyX Summit held in Washington, DC, the inaugural prizes for Redesign Dialysis will be announced. This initial phase of KidneyX, which is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), aims to accelerate the development and commercialization of next-generation dialysis products.
“Focusing the inaugural KidneyX prize on innovation in dialysis is a significant step towards making real advances in improving not only the lives of dialysis patients, but the lives of their families and caregivers,” said Kevin Longino, CEO, National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient. “NKF has long been a champion in improving dialysis care and we’re proud to have lent this expertise through our involvement in the KidneyX initiatives. We look forward to our continued involvement in the rest of the KidneyX roadmap,” he added.  Mr. Longino served as a reviewer and panelist for the KidneyX Innovators Showcase in 2018 and, most recently, as technical reviewer for the submissions of “Redesign Dialysis – Phase 1.” He will also be speaking today at the panel “Patient Experience and Why Innovation is Needed” which starts at 5:00PM EST.
“Aligning all the federal agencies involved in healthcare around kidney disease signals a reinvigoration for innovation that unites industry with these agencies and that’s very promising,” said Joseph Vassalotti, MD, Chief Medical Officer of National Kidney Foundation. “Starting with dialysis care is critical and my hope is that the Redesign Dialysis prizes will help foster new therapies which target enhancements across a spectrum of care including in-center, peritoneal and home hemodialysis and improved monitoring and patient engagement,” he added. Dr. Vassalotti served as a judge for KidneyX’s “Redesign Dialysis – Phase 1”.
Nearly 680,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 475,000 ESRD patients receive dialysis at least three times per week to replace kidney function.  The National Kidney Foundation developed the first evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for dialysis patient care 21 years ago and as a result the mortality rate for dialysis patients has declined by over 26 percent.
In addition to our clinical practice work, removing barriers to home dialysis is a major focus for NKF. The foundation recently hosted a Conference on Home Dialysis which brought together leading kidney professionals, patients and caregivers, industry representatives and government officials to launch the Home Dialysis Quality Initiative, a major multi-disciplinary effort aimed at overcoming barriers to getting, or keeping, patients on home dialysis, including overcoming lack of training and support for care partners.  
“Any advances to making dialysis easier, especially making home dialysis more accessible, would help patients enjoy a better quality of life.  Research suggests that patients who treat kidney failure at home have a better quality of life, and lower rates of depression and unemployment,” said Holly Kramer, MD, MPH, President of National Kidney Foundation and a practicing nephrologist. “We’re looking forward to working with HHS and ASN on this initiative and applaud them for their efforts to date.” 
In 1997, NKF published the first evidence-based clinical practice guidelines under the Dialysis Outcomes Quality Initiative (DOQI) banner. Recognizing the need to treat kidney disease earlier to improve outcomes, not just for dialysis patients, but for all patients with kidney disease, DOQI was soon expanded to the Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI).  Now 21 years later, NKF has published 18 sets of KDOQI guidelines addressing early identification, staging/classification, prevention and management of kidney disease and related conditions, as well as recommendations for the optimization of renal replacement therapy.
About Kidney Disease
In the United States, 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it.  1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history.  People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
Nearly 680,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 475,000 ESRD patients receive dialysis at least three times per week to replace kidney function.  Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now.  Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years.   Living organ donation not only saves lives, it saves money. Each year, Medicare spends $87,000 per dialysis patient and less than half, $32,500, for a transplant patient.
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information about NKF visit www.kidney.org.