Anti-Thrombogenic Polymer Improves Artificial Kidney Performance

Tokyo-based Toray Industries Inc. has received this year’s prestigious Ichimura Prize in Industry for Excellent Achievement for its development and commercialization of an anti-thrombogenic artificial kidney. Toray said that it drew on its core nanotechnology and computational chemistry capabilities to create an artificial kidney from a polysulphone membrane that enhances anti-thrombogenic performance in line with advances in dialysis treatment. The technology helps improve the quality of life of patients with chronic and acute renal failure while reducing the workload of medical professionals. Now in its 54th year and managed by the Ichimura Foundation for New Technology, the Ichimura Prize in Industry for Excellent Achievement is given to developers or groups that have contributed to progress in industrial fields through Japanese technology. The foundation also provides grants for research and development in science and technology projects. Artificial kidneys remove waste products from the blood of renal patients. Dialyzers incorporate polysulphone blended with hydrophilic polyvinylpyrrolidone to achieve anti-thrombogenic properties. To improve their performance, Toray applied a proprietary hypothesis focused on how adsorbed water interacts with polymers using computational chemistry in the polymer design process. The research led to the discovery of a new anti-thrombogenic polymer that can suppress platelet adhesion better than polyvinylpyrrolidone. Toray went on to develop and commercialize artificial kidneys for chronic and acute renal failure based on this technology. 

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