Alternative dialysis treatment to be known as allo-haemodialysis is currently being tested at an advanced stage of development in large animals by Virinchi Hospital, RRI, and Vivo Bio Tech Ltd, Hyderabad. This innovative treatment is likely to bring down the cost of dialysis to 1/100th of what it is now and will be ready globally for human usage in the next 2-3 years. The hemodialysis machines available at hospitals currently are a huge setup needing a consistent supply of the highest quality water and a dialysis technician to operate it. This setup costs around Rs 7- 8 lakh, while the new one will cost around just Rs 70,000.
According to Dr. K S Nayak, Chief Nephrologist, Virinchi Hospitals, Allo Haemodialysis (alloHD) is a novel hemodialysis modality whereby the patient is dialyzed against a healthy subject, to be called as 'buddy.' The buddy's healthy kidneys then excrete the solutes and fluid transferred from the patient. The whole setup is less than half the size of a microwave oven with no need for a water supply or a technician. This will make dialysis an easy process, doable at home. Dr. Nayak has worked on the project with Dr. Peter Kotanko, medical director, Renal Research Institute, New York, jointly and their respective teams.
The method has been tested on American Yorkshire pigs successfully and was found to have the same effect as dialysis. The reason for choosing the animal is that the kidneys of humans and pigs are quite similar, and a pig's weight is similar to that of a human male.
Dr. Nayak reaffirms that this novel treatment option has the potential to increase access to renal replacement therapy and bring down the loss of human life owing to kidney failure.