HomeNewsBASF and UT collaborate on developing new dialysis membranes.

BASF and UT collaborate on developing new dialysis membranes.

Dimitrios Stamatialis (Advanced Organ Bioengineering and Therapeutics, AOT (Faculty of S&T)) will lead a research project towards developing a new generation of dialysis membranes, in collaboration with BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany). Although dialysis has been used for many decades, millions of patients could benefit from technological improvements of the membranes.

In a healthy person, the kidneys are responsible for removing toxins from the bloodstream. For a wide range of reasons, people can suffer from kidney failure, globally approximately four million. Patients who suffer from kidney failure, otherwise called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), require a replacement kidney. However, there are insufficient replacement kidneys for the number of ESRD patients, therefore, a large number of patients rely on extracorporeal treatment like hemodialysis to survive.

Removing toxins

During hemodialysis, a dialysis machine removes toxins from the bloodstream using a membrane. The membrane should remove toxins from the patient’s blood while retaining important proteins, such as albumin. Commonly, these membranes are prepared from blends of hydrophobic polymers (such as poly(sulfone) or poly(ether sulfone)) with hydrophilic additives (such as poly(vinylpyrrolidone), PVP). The membrane material should guarantee long-term blood compatibility, long-term fouling resistance and long-term selectivity. However, because of additives leaching or shear stresses during the treatment, the membrane’s structural characteristics can be compromised, negatively influencing the treatment efficiency.

This three-year research project, funded by BASF (Ludwigshafen) will investigate the development of new membranes based on poly(aryl ether sulfone polymers) (tradename Ultrason®) combined with new polymer additives and solvents aiming at mitigating the above problems. The project will elucidate the fundamental working mechanism of such additives and solvents for developing high flux, low fouling dialysis membranes that can be applied for long-term filtration. 

More information

This project fits perfectly with the TechMed strategic impulse programme KETs4PM on ‘Personalised Renal Health’ (Prof. Stamatialis is the coordinator) which aims to provide a technological drive to transform health care and well-being.

BASF is one of the leading polyarylethersulfone providers for the global dialysis market. The established portfolio of high-quality thermoplastics Ultrason® aims at improving dialysis performance for patients and creating a sustainable future. The AOT group (Faculty of Science and Technology / TechMed centre) has unique expertise spanning the fields of (bio)artificial organs, targeted therapeutics and regenerative medicine. It strives to implement innovative technologies from the benchtop to the clinic and to valorize its findings by initiating new spin-off companies.

K.W. Wesselink - Schram MSc (Kees)
Science Communication Officer (available Mon-Fri)