Renal Research Institute Receives KidneyX Award for Displacer-Enhanced Dialysis

Winning Entry Seeks to Rid Blood of Difficult to Remove Protein-Bound Toxins

WALTHAM, Mass. – April 30, 2019 – Renal Research Institute (RRI), a division of Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), announced that its novel concept for “displacer-enhanced dialysis” has been selected as a winner of the KidneyX Redesign Dialysis competition. The proposal aims to develop a new displacer substance that can rid the blood of protein-bound uremic toxins that are notoriously difficult to remove by hemodialysis and negatively impact patient health.

“In the past decade there has been far too little progress in our ability to remove these toxins during hemodialysis,” said Dr. Peter Kotanko, Research Director at RRI. “We are excited to be recognized for our research and this new effort to find a practical solution that would help improve the quality of life for patients requiring life-sustaining hemodialysis treatment.”

The Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX) is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Society of Nephrology to accelerate innovation in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases. RRI is one of 15 winners for this first phase of the Redesign Dialysis competition.

“This competition is a new opportunity to advance innovations that will hopefully improve outcomes for all patients with renal disease,” said Dr. Robert Kossmann, Chief Medical Officer at Fresenius Medical Care North America. “This award to the RRI team further demonstrates our ongoing commitment to turning research into practical solutions and new technologies.”

As described in RRI’s proposal, higher levels of protein-bound uremic toxins are associated with poorer outcomes in chronic kidney disease. These toxins are bound to a protein called albumin which is too large to be removed with conventional hemodialysis. Through “displacer-enhanced dialysis,” a displacer substance is infused into the dialysis machine’s blood tubing upstream of the artificial kidney, outside of the patient’s body. This displacer binds to the same binding sites on albumin as the toxins, displaces them from the albumin molecule and allows them to be easily removed in the artificial kidney.

While laboratory experiments and a recent patient study published in the Clinical Journal of American Society of Nephrology confirmed this effect, current proof of concept displacers are not suitable for longer-term use. The goal of RRI’s winning proposal is to advance the search for ideal displacer substances that can be used routinely in chronic hemodialysis and study the effects of longer-term use of those displacers.

In March, the FDA granted breakthrough device designation to FMCNA’s computer-assisted ultrafiltration control software in development to improve fluid management during hemodialysis. The software will be designed to work with newer Fresenius Medical Care hemodialysis machines using the CLiC™ device.

About Renal Research Institute

Renal Research Institute, a division of Fresenius Medical Care North America, achieves its mission to improve the outcomes of patients with kidney disease through research and innovation. RRI’s highly developed and specialized expertise in computational biomedicine, exploratory clinical and biomedical research and data analytics underscore the Institute’s track record of thinking outside the box and identifying high-value areas. Through alliance and collaboration agreements, RRI has forged strategic research relationships with leading universities in the Americas, Asia, and Europe, fostering RRI’s position at the forefront of research activities in the field of dialysis and nephrology.

About Fresenius Medical Care North America

Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) is the premier healthcare company focused on providing the highest quality care to people with renal and other chronic conditions. Through its industry-leading network of dialysis facilities, outpatient cardiac and vascular labs and urgent care centers, Fresenius Medical Care North America provides coordinated healthcare services at pivotal care points for hundreds of thousands of chronically ill customers throughout the continent. As the world’s largest fully integrated renal company, it offers specialty pharmacy and laboratory services, and manufactures and distributes the most comprehensive line of dialysis equipment, disposable products and renal pharmaceuticals. For more information, visit the FMCNA website at

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