<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=875423625897521&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Customer Login


Hear more from our team:

Supply and Demand

By Daniel Foster29 Jan 2024

Most of the time, supply-and-demand is a broad concept that shifts vaguely beneath our lives like the tide under a fishing boat. Sometimes, though, supply-and-demand becomes an annoyingly uncaring calculus that inflates our grocery bills. At the worst, it may even feel like a cruel lever that allows the “haves” to take advantage of the “have-nots.”

But on rare occasion, supply-and-demand can drive life-saving innovation.

In the US, roughly half a million people undergo regular dialysis treatment for the End Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD). If a person’s kidneys are beyond medical repair, then the solution should be simple—replace those failing kidneys with recently-donated, healthy ones. Unfortunately for those 500,000 people who need, only about 20,000 life-saving kidneys are annually available.

Though the “demand” seems uncaring, the “supply” people often care greatly. Consider a group of scientists at UC San Francisco, for example.

Under the auspices of the Kidney Project, these scientists are hard at work on a novel idea. Functional kidneys are rare and difficult to obtain, but kidney cells can be cultured with relative ease (compared to a whole organ, at least.)

The UC San Fran team recently demonstrated that it is possible to place kidney cells inside a synthetic bioreactor, then implant that reactor in a living organism (in this case, a pig). Those cells then successfully performed many of the functions of a kidney. Furthermore—and this is a key point—the design of the device was so biologically-incognito that it did not trigger the host’s immune system. Lack of immune response is a critical step in kidney replacement, which must necessarily be life-long. Future steps in the project involve placing different types of kidney cells in the bioreactor so that it can perform more functions, from hormone production to fluid balance.

Dialysis is, frankly, a miserable process. This is no slight to the countless dedicated professionals who work in dialysis every day. They spend long hours performing demanding tasks to provide the best treatment available for their patients. Their efforts are truly heroic, and because they do this for us day after day, we get to hold onto our ESKD-friends and family who would otherwise die.

The difficulty of dialysis is no-one’s fault. It is simply the state-of-the-art.

But stone tools gave way to bronze, bronze to iron, and after thousands of years of relentless development, the silicon-based microchip (to stretch the analogy.)

Guess what drove all that?

Supply and demand.

Each of our loved ones on dialysis needs a better option. We want it. We demand it.

And thanks to people like the researchers on the Kidney Project, supply always follows demand.

Thanks for reading,

               Transonic Systems, Inc.

                        The Measure of Better Results