Today on World Kidney Day, The European Kidney Health Alliance (EKHA) would like to bring attention to the ever-growing technological gap that separates dialysis patients from their communities. In 50 years, although every aspect of life seems to have undergone substantial technological advances – phones, TVs, shopping, vacuum-cleaners, and even toilets – very little advances have been made in kidney disease therapies regardless of the increasing burden of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). To this day, 75 million Europeans suffer from CKD and it is estimated that it will be the 5th leading cause of death worldwide by 2040.
Dialysis continues to be the main treatment path and despite home dialysis being far preferrable to in-centre dialysis, it remains a cumbersome process for patients. Indeed, most must build their daily lives around dialysis, limiting themselves to their disease. Thus, there is an urgent need for innovation in dialysis treatments, with the aim to significantly improve the quality of life of patients and of their carers. New studies have shown promises in developing wearable, portable and even more environment-friendly dialysis machines but more research is needed to fully unlock their potential. Moreover, recent scientific advances in regenerative medicine, that could allow the creation of new therapeutic approaches by tissue engineering, have demonstrated that more options than dialysis and classical transplantation could be available for kidney patients and should be explored further.
It is in this context that EKHA is officially launching today the Decade of the Kidney™, a pan-European campaign that will put the spotlight on the challenges and unmet needs of Kidney Disease in Europe. The campaign, first developed by the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) in the United-States, will gather a wide range of stakeholders with the aim to improve the quality of life of kidney patients through better prevention & disease management, and a push for ground breaking innovation.