UPDATE: 3D PRINTER TECHNOLOGY CREATES KIDNEY STRUCTURE

I do not pretend to understand totally the innovations that are emerging from various researchers who are attempting to improve the lives of those diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and those who have reached the end stage of being on dialysis.

I have read up a good bit on the artificial kidney that may be on the brink of successful marketing. I have read up somewhat on wearable artificial kidneys that may someday make dialysis patients much move ambulatory. Now I am being presented with 3D printer technology that may be able to impact those with kidney failure.

What some call “The Chronic Kidney Disease Community” has again been hit with welcomed news of the progress of three-dimensional (3D) printed organs such as kidneys which with newly discovered technology can be used to construct viable transplantable kidneys and cut the times of those on kidney transplant waiting lists.

The rapidly growing kidney transplant waiting list is not new to most chronic kidney disease and dialysis patients. Now as over 120,000 patients await a kidney transplant for an average of five (5) to seven (7) years or longer, patients and researchers have been searching for alternative options. Some of these innovations likely do offer some hope for patients wanting to find an option to shuck dialysis and replace the option of kidney transplantation.

While the organic 3D printed transplants have been a theoretical option, they have also met various obstacles preventing 3D printed kidneys from becoming a reality. However, the New Scientist publication now reports: “Researchers of the University of Florida in Gainesville came to a breakthrough method while searching for a way to enable the printing of items that cannot support their own weight.” The new technique prints objects inside of a gel material similar to hand sanitizer called Acrylic Acid Polymer.

In the test runs, the researchers used living cells including human blood-vessel and kidney cells. Findings were very promising and according to researchers it “could make it easier to print organs from living tissue.” The Research Team was able to shape the material into small scale models.

Nevertheless, there is “a catch,” noted New Scientist. Apparently, there are a few “shortcomings” associated with this process, “but the possibility presents a considerable amount of promise going forward, and the researchers from the project are optimistic” about the ability of 3D printed kidneys.

This news is likely very exciting for some of us who are currently suffering from chronic kidney disease and dialysis. Any innovation that provides hope for renal patients is welcomed news, especially if the update refreshes their spirit in continuing their fight for survival. As a dialysis patient, I can sure use any element of hope, even if it turns out to be a false dose of hope during my lifetime.

Note: Information provided by kidneybuzz.com and the New Scientist publication.

Dialysis book selected for 16th Annual Holiday Author Fair

I received word this week that my book Dialing in on DI-AL-Y-SIS has been selected to be displayed at the upcoming 16th Annual Holiday Author Fair. The Fair is set for Saturday, December 1, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis on West Ohio Street.

Staged in the Historical Society Library & Archive (available by elevator), the much-anticipated event features dozens of bona fide authors sitting at tables offering their latest books for public consumption.

The Author Fair’s selection committee has an established history of ensuring a variety of genres and price points that attract the many hundreds of shoppers, some who line up with their empty shopping bags well before the high-noon opening hour. All book sales are facilitated in the Library & Archive area by Basile History Market personnel. The Basile History Market is located year-round on the main floor of the museum.

The names of authors and their books will be announced well in advance. Some of the prominent book writers have been displaying their books at this holiday extravaganza for more than a decade.

For those curious about Dialing in on DI-AL-Y-SIS, the 174-page paperback is an account of my first seven months on dialysis, along with a decade-plus of events leading up to my present fate — that being a kidney patient experiencing “end stage renal disease.” The 16 chapters provide valuable information, and are designed to be both entertaining and revealing.

I am honored to be a part of this large group of authors who will be representing the literary community in Indiana by participating in the Holiday Author Fair. I attended this gathering a year ago and discovered that what was promised as “a fun-filled day of mixing, mingling and book signing” was up to its hype.

 

 

 

 

SHOULD DIALYSIS COMPANIES BE MAKING RECORD PROFITS?

Part of my daily routine is to peruse articles provided by kidneybuzz.com, a free online service provided by a California-based company that also offers patient-related products for those like me who are on dialysis.

I found this morning’s item quite interesting, even though it was read several hours ahead of sunrise. It centered on a report of earnings for the top two dialysis providers in the United States. The headline posed the question: Should Dialysis Companies Treating Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Be Making Record Profits?

The article cites Los Angeles Times-published info that reads: “The two dominant for-profit dialysis firms, Denver-based Davita and German-owned Fresenius, report pretax operating profits in the billions and margins of 18 percent and 19 percent.” More specifically, in 2017, DaVita earned about $1.8 billion in pretax operating profit of $10.1 billion from Dialysis Patient-Related revenue. Fresenius reported pretax operating profit of $2.3 billion on Dialysis Patient-Related revenue of $11.7 billion for North America.

In my recent book Dialing in on DI-AL-Y-SIS, I offered 2015 revenue figures that showed Fresenius with over $1 billion in after-tax dollars and DaVita’s net patient revenue at $668 million.

The kidneybuzz.com article also notes that as Proposition 8 (an initiative to cap Dialysis Company profits at 15 percent) is set to appear on the California Ballot – and possibly ballots in other states across the country afterward – the earnings of dialysis organizations are being put into the spotlight. Large dialysis organizations have already contributed more than $8 million to oppose Proposition 8, while supporters of the measure have amassed $6 million to push the proposition forward. Still, recent figures released by well-known publications are causing some to pause and evaluate massive earnings as it relates to patient care and whether it is good or bad for chronic kidney disease and dialysis patients.

The article continues:

This has been met with mixed responses from the chronic kidney disease community, with some patients applauding the firms for their great care and terrific business savvy, while other patients do not feel as though they are getting high-quality care and find such earnings to be shocking, since they struggle on a fixed income.

Most of the feedback that kidneybuzz.com gets as it relates to clinics is not that they make profit – in fact, having a profitable business ensures that dialysis can continue to be offered to patients. However, the primary difference is in care. Some patients find that they have exceptional care at dialysis with great service and kind and friendly healthcare professionals. Others believe that their treatments can be improved with more staff, safer facilities, more cutting-edge technology, and better-trained professionals.

It is important to note that DaVita and Fresenius combined operate approximately 4,900 outpatient clinics and serve about 400,000 patients – accounting for roughly 70 percent of all dialysis patients. Hence, the dialysis companies are given an awesome responsibility to keep patients alive, but are they making too much money in relation to the service and resources patients are getting? On the other hand, are the profits simply the rewards of a job well-done for caring for the vulnerable population of dialysis patients?