Late stage renal disease is debilitating. When their kidneys stop functioning, patients are treated through dialysis that have serious physical side effects and are costly for many. But change may soon be coming—a team of HKUST students has invented a solution that uses graphene to reduce dialysis treatment time and costs, and enhance its effectiveness.
The team’s idea is simple yet previously untested. Dialysis usually filters out all blood impurities, but surface-modified graphene can trap targeted impurities, ensuring that vital salt and glucose are retained. As a result, life expectancy for patients should go up, and treatment time would also be greatly reduced.
The team’s leader, Tim Tian, a MPhil student in Technology Leadership and Entrepreneurship, gave credit to the advice and support he received from his supervisor Prof. LUO Zhengtang at HKUST. “We always had an idea on how the science could work, but we knew little on how to turn the idea into an actual product,” he said. “We were fortunate to be able to meet a lot of people who gave us valuable advice along the way.”
Named “Perfusor”, the method still has to undergo further testing, but the team has already found many interested investors and is optimistic on the potential ‘Perfusor” brings to the Chinese market, where nearly 2 million patients are treated with renal disease every year. Their goal is to commercialize the invention by 2020. For late stage renal patients, the wait will be worth it.
The team placed second runner-up in the HKUST’s One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition in June.
One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition offers a platform for the HKUST community to bring their innovative ideas from concepts to consumers, for more information on the competition, please click here.