The prevalence of chronic kidney disease is rising and reaching 5–15% of the adult population worldwide. Some of the reasons are the aging of the population and unhealthy lifestyles (e.g., unhealthy diet, diabetes type 2, hypertension, smoking). The best treatment is to prevent the progression of function decline. When that does not succeed, the next best option is a kidney transplantation. However, the availability of these organs is limited. Therefore, many patients’ lives depend on dialysis therapy. In the Netherlands, almost 13.000 patients need kidney replacement therapy, among those, 6.500 need kidney dialysis. In Europe and worldwide the dialysis patients are approximately 350.000 and 3 million, respectively. The number of the patients is not high in comparison to diabetes or other diseases, however, the dialysis therapy is very expensive, for example in the Netherlands it costs approximately €100.000 per patient per year. Importantly, the therapy cannot remove all toxins from blood, especially protein-bound toxins, leading to high mortality and poor quality of life for patients. One major issue in chronic kidney disease is the enormous increased risk of cardiovascular disease. More people with stage IV kidney disease die of cardiovascular disease before reaching kidney replacement therapy.
Compared with other therapeutic areas, nephrology care, and especially dialysis, has high environmental impact. It requires 500 litres of tap water per dialysis session and contributes to significant greenhouse gas emission and waste production. The high-water demand poses serious limitations in therapy implementation to countries with water scarcity and to developing countries where the dialysis units have inadequate facilities for water purification.
To diminish the symptoms on people living with chronic kidney disease and reduce the impact on the environment, we aim to work on a predictive, preventive, participatory and personalized program focused on patient health, and on stopping the progression of chronic kidney disease. Within the UT and the TechMed Centre, we develop a common research vision on kidney health by driving technological innovations and facilitating collaborations. We connect with our worldwide networks to unify the efforts of UT’s 2030 Strategic priority on healthy living, with the global challenges around personalized health, as defined on regional, national and international level.