BioSurfaces (Ashland, MA) in collaboration with clinical partners at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, MA) was selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Chief Technology Officer and the American Society of Nephrology as 1 of the 15 winning teams for Phase 1 of the first annual KidneyX Redesign Dialysis prize competition. KidneyX received 165 applications that underwent strict peer-reviewed by patients, industry and academia. The company's winning application describes technology centered on developing a next generation artificial tubular construct (arteriovenous grafts or AVGs) made from nanofibers to create a site in which needles can be inserted to remove and return blood to a dialysis machine. Additionally, BioSurfaces in collaboration with clinical partners at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA) and Greenwood LeFlore Hospital (Greenwood, MS) also received honorable mention (1 out of 7 selected) for a device (fistula cuff) that is used to reduce blood flow in patients who use their own vein to provide a point for hemodialysis access. BioSurfaces was the only Massachusetts company to be selected as a winner of the KidneyX prize, with both its applications finishing in the top 15% of all applications. A detailed description of the company’s technologies along with the additional KidneyX applications can be found at https://www.kidneyx.org/WhatWeDo/PrizeCompetitions/redesigndialysisphasei).
The search for an “off-the-shelf” alternative to current AVGs with improved blood flow and reduced complications has been the ‘holy grail’ of dialysis access surgery. BioSurfaces has developed an artificial AVG (NuSpun graft) made from fibers that are 40 times smaller than a human hair using electrospinning technology. The NuSpun graft has demonstrated benefits over currently available AVGs in early studies in terms of preventing kinking, self-sealing after puncture, softness and ease of handling and most importantly, the ability to allow the body’s own cells to grow into the device. Furthermore, drugs to control cell overgrowth such as those used in drug-eluting coronary stents can be directly incorporated into specific areas of the NuSpun device within the electrospun fibers to localize the drug into targeted regions. Funds received from the KidneyX prize will be used to conduct early studies in which detailed characterization of the drug release profile will be determined. This study will also produce a functional prototype demonstrating different drug spatial localization that will also undergo initial preclinical assessment.
Mr. Matthew Phaneuf, President and CTO of BioSurfaces, stated, “We are excited and honored to be selected for such a prestigious award from KidneyX. Our technology submission was judged not only by academic, clinical and industrial experts in kidney disease, but also by kidney patients themselves who are looking for innovative solutions to treat their disease. We believe our technology is a targeted approach to improving access for these patients.” Dr. Yael Vin, an Associate Professor of Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, added, “We have united a diverse multidisciplinary team of researchers that believe that developing a novel AVG that combines multiple benefits each demonstrated by certain grafts and devices may result in a significantly improved graft for hemodialysis patients.” Dr. Nikhil Agrawal, an interventional nephrologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, also added, “Vascular access is the Achilles heel of dialysis patients. With this promising new technology, we may be able to improve the quality of life and survival in dialysis patients, while reducing health care costs at the same time.”
KidneyX is a public-private partnership formed to prevent, diagnose and treat kidney diseases, which affects 850 million people worldwide. The goal of the initiative is to accelerate the development of promising medical devices, drugs, biologics and other therapies across the spectrum of kidney care including prevention, diagnostics, and treatment. For inquiries, please contact Mr. Matthew Phaneuf at firstname.lastname@example.org.