Thursday, February 02, 2006

Several years ago the company I worked for was collaborating with another company which was developing a device they were hoping to market as a temporary device to support patients through acute renal failure.

Renal failure is when your kidneys shut down, and it's a death sentence. Sometimes a medical situation will overload a patient's kidneys, causing a temporary (acute) shutdown until the situation is resolved. While complete renal failure always leads to death, if a patient can be supported through a temporary shutdown, they have a good chance of surviving.

The device had been through Phase One clinical trials with surprising results. When testing medical devices they don't want you experimenting with people who might survive (and possibly screwing them up), so trials are limited to people whom the odds say are going to die. The survival rate with this device was astonishing. They had a list of people who "should have" died, but didn't.

For certain reasons I was called in as a cell growth guy to do some work and help out with the project. I did my part, got more thanks than I really deserved and moved on. I can't even remember the name of the company.

It will, of course, be years before the device hits the market--and that's assuming that it meets FDA approval. It may, it may not. I only know about the Phase One trials. There are two more levels to meet before the FDA even thinks about approving it.

In the mean time, relatives of two people close to me have perished due to acute renal failure, and with each death I've found myself thinking back to that project, wistfully, hoping that someday that thing hits the market.

No comments: