HHS, American Society of Nephrology announce $10M prize for artificial kidney

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Society of Nephrology announced a $10 million prize this past week to accelerate the development of artificial kidneys toward human trials.  

The Kidney Innovation Accelerator, or KidneyX, Artificial Kidney Prize is a multiphase competition, according to an HHS press release, with Phase 1 seeking solutions moving forward the functionality, effectiveness and/or reliability of artificial kidneys – whether they be wearable, implantable, bioengineered, developed as a xenotransplant or chimera organ, or created using a different approach.  

“The KidneyX Artificial Kidney Prize aims to radically improve kidney care by bringing together innovators across expertise areas, including nephrology, bioengineering, materials science, regenerative medicine, and medical devices,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a press statement.  

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Thirteen people die each day waiting for a kidney transplant, according to the National Kidney Foundation, with Black people disproportionately likely to develop kidney failure. In the United States, more than 100,000 people are currently on the list to receive one, with a median waiting time of three and a half years.   

But current treatment methods have not significantly