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Winning Solution: A Novel Device to Prevent Infection Due to Touch Contamination in Peritoneal Dialysis

Device to reduce risk of infection for home peritoneal dialysis by disinfecting connection tubes and eliminating contamination

Sarah Lee, Relavo LLC

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KidneyX Competition:

Redesign Dialysis, Phase 2

About the Solution

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a form of kidney replacement therapy that allows patients to receive treatment daily in the comfort of their homes, rather than traveling to dialysis clinics several times per week. PD is used by 55,000 people in the United States, representing just 9% of all people with kidney failure. This disparity is largely due to the risk of peritonitis, an infection of the peritoneal membrane. Peritonitis occurs in 30% of patients each year and requires hospitalization in 66% of cases. Existing efforts to reduce peritonitis through education and best-practice standards have been insufficient and the risk of touch contamination, the primary cause of peritonitis, remains high.

Relavo is developing an intermediate connection device that internally disinfects connected PD tubes to prevent microbes on the surface, introduced by touch contaminations, from being transported into the peritoneal cavity to reduce the incidence of peritonitis. The device, PeritoneX, seamlessly integrates into the existing PD system. The PeritoneX has been designed to minimize the need for intense patient vigilance of contamination events; to prevent secondary contamination events by maintaining a closed system between disinfection and dialysis treatment; and to minimize patient interaction time to avoid added patient burden. Relavo has verified its disinfection method with a works-like prototype against a spectrum of peritonitis-causing microbes and has demonstrated a greater than 4-log reduction in microbial units for each test.

About the Winner

Sarah Lee is the Chief Executive Officer of Relavo, LLC, a medical device company founded by students at Johns Hopkins University. Sarah holds a B.S in Biomedical Engineering and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Ms. Lee and her co-founders launched Relavo as an outgrowth of a successful exploration into dialysis innovation as part of an undergraduate design team in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins. The student team worked with Dr. Alicia Neu at Johns Hopkins Hospital to explore ways to address the problem of infection in peritoneal dialysis.

This early introduction to challenges in kidney care inspired in the entire team a commitment to transform care and quality of life for people who need dialysis treatment to live. Recognizing the launch of the Advancing American Kidney Health (AAKH) initiative as a catalyst to positive change, Ms. Lee assembled a dedicated and results-driven team of innovators. Beyond kidney care, Relavo staff look forward to solving other unmet challenges in catheter care and home-based therapies.