Universiti Teknologi Malaysia deputy vice-chancellor of research and innovation Professor Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail showing the haemodialyser at the university in Skudai yesterday. Pix By Hairul Anuar Rahim

THE cost of dialysis for kidney patients is expected to be 30 per cent lower with a more efficient device made locally.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has developed a better haemodialyser, which can purify blood at 30 per cent higher rate than the existing dialysis machines.

Haemodialyser is a key component in the dialysis treatment.

One of the haemodialyser researchers, Professor Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, said his team needed about RM5 million to complete its development, including conducting clinical tests.

“It will be able to purify 14L of blood a minute compared with 8L by existing brands. If we can secure the funding, we hope to commercially produce it within the next two years,” he said here yesterday.

Fauzi, who is also UTM deputy vice-chancellor of research and innovation, leads a team of researchers from UTM’s Advanced Membrane Technology Research Centre.

He said there was a big market for the device as all haemodialysers used by kidney patients in Malaysia now were imported.

“This is a high-impact project for the public.

“We have the technology and manpower, but we need the funding to turn this into commercial use.”

Fauzi said the team, which comprised six senior lecturers and six doctorate students, took more than two years in the research and development (R&D) of the device.

“We have signed a memorandum of understanding with Foresight Industries Sdn Bhd in March last year for the development of the device where it provided a fund of RM1 million to build a clean room for the R&D of the device.

“If there are corporations interested to invest in the commercial production of the device, we would welcome them.”

Fauzi said the development of the haemodialyser was the first phase of a four-stage project to develop the whole package for the dialysis treatment, including the dialysis machine.

“We need about RM20 million to develop the whole package,” he said.

According to statistics from National Kidney Foundation Malaysia, there are 38,157 kidney patients who needed dialysis treatment as at March last year and that number was expected to increase to 43,000 by the end of the year.

The average cost of treatment for each patient is more than RM25,000 a year.