“Kuleana” is a Hawaiian word conveying care, responsibility, accountability, and reciprocity. These are the values that underpin everything we do.
We’re a group of doctors, patients, scientists, and engineers who feel that patients with chronic kidney failure and end-stage renal disease deserve a new therapy with improved outcomes, minimal discomfort, and the potential to live life to the fullest.
The Challenge at Hand
Today, there are over 400,000 patients on dialysis in the USA and over three million worldwide. The majority of those patients receive their treatment in a dialysis center three times a week on a regular schedule. This entails transport to the dialysis center, preparing for their treatment, waiting for their time slot on the machine, performing the 3-4 hour treatment (with large bore needles), then disconnecting and finishing paperwork, etc. before going home. All of this, only to feel like a train wreck for the rest of the day. Why? Because our natural kidneys operate 24/7, whereas a conventional dialysis system condenses this down to 12 hours of treatment a week. Put simply, in-clinic dialysis is inflexible, burdensome, and has a real impact on patient wellbeing. It’s time to provide patients with a better option.
Kuleana is advancing cutting-edge technology from the Center of Dialysis Innovation (CDI) at the University of Washington. This technology includes the ability to run a dialysis machine without the need for a constant water connection, saving over 50 gallons of purified water currently used per treatment. By constantly refreshing dialysate, this remarkable technology allows a dialysis machine to operate with a small, closed-loop volume of dialysate. It untethers the machine from the wall, enabling whenever, wherever dialysis. And to make this groundbreaking technology more acceptable to patients, Kuleana is developing a needleless vascular access technology to allow patients to safely and effectively connect multiple times a day, without painful and disfiguring needle sticks.
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