OSU-developed technology licensed for nighttime home dialysis

A technology co-invented by an Oregon State University researcher has been licensed to Home Dialysis Plus, Ltd., a Corvallis-based developer of advanced home hemodialysis devices for blood filtration and water treatment for dialysis.

Initial use of the technology will allow the development of a micro-scale dialyzer, a key component in the company’s portable, cost-effective home dialysis system that offers patients the ability to experience dialysis treatments at night, while sleeping, in the comfort and safety of their own homes. 

Originally developed in the late 1990s, Micro-scale Energy and Chemical Systems (MECS) technology

Kevin Drost co-invented new dialysis technology.

Kevin Drost co-invented new dialysis technology.

miniaturizes chemical processes using very small channels in place of conventional piping.

To date, MECS technology has primarily been used in defense and energy applications.

Compared to a conventional dialyzer, the amount of dialysate to cleanse the blood is reduced by almost 90 percent and the amount of blood the patient’s body at any given time is expected to decrease by more than 50 percent with the miniaturized, more efficient Home Dialysis Plus system.

“A dialyzer is a nearly perfect application for this technology,” said Kevin Drost, original MECS co-inventor and OSU researcher. “Reducing the size of a dialyzer and reducing the need for dialysate are both critical for home hemodialysis applications,” Drost said.

Drost, who holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering from OSU, specializes in the fields of thermodynamics, radiation heat transfer, and energy conversion, particularly as applied to miniature and micro scale energy and chemical systems.

He is the director of the MECS Initiative at OSU.

Working through the Energy and Chemical Systems Miniaturization Initiative at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Drost was one of the early pioneers in the area of energy and chemical systems miniaturization.

Home Dialysis Plus also will leverage the capabilities of MECS technology for microbiological purification of the water that is used in the dialysis machine.  A heat exchanger with a built-in heater will pasteurize the water as it enters the machine, killing harmful bacteria in the water used in the dialysate.

The micro-channel device is expected to enable Home Dialysis Plus to meet the industry standard for ultra-pure water while using marginal amounts of energy — a mere 75 watts.

The Corvallis company, located on NE Circle Boulevard and with Michael Baker as CEO, will be working with the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute (MBI) in their commercialization effort.

Specialists at “creating small technologies that solve big problems”, MBI experts rely on advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology to create cutting edge micro-solutions that bridge the gap between invention and application, said Brian Paul, MBI co-director.

“This is an example of industry driving requirements so that university research can be more effective in solving real problems,” Paul said. “We’re pulling more ideas out of the lab and into the world where they have the potential to impact and improve the lives of many people.”
The Home Dialysis Plus system is expected to provide patients with a slower, gentler night time treatment which is a closer simulation of the body’s natural biological processes. This will improve patients’ dialysis results and dramatically reduce patients’ post-treatment recovery time.

The ability to sleep during treatment will allow for improved flexibility and more day-to-day lifestyle control.

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