UTM on verge of breakthrough

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 13 Jun 2017

History in the making: Prof Ahmad Fauzi showing the haemodialyser made entirely out of plastic during the press conference in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: A local university is just a few steps away from building Malaysia’s very own dialysis machine, which could save millions in cost.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) deputy vice-chancellor (research and innovation) Prof Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, who is the project head, said his team had created a haemodialyser entirely out of high quality plastic membrane.

The haemodialyser, which acts as a filter in the blood purification process, was comparable to that in the imported devices currently used at dialysis centres nationwide, he added.

“The haemodialyser that we developed is more productive as it has a quicker blood purification rate, which is 14 litres a minute compared to eight litres per minute by imported machines.

“As academics, it is our responsibility to create a device that is able to leave a big impact in society, especially on those suffering from kidney problems,” he said at a press conference held at the UTM Skudai campus here yesterday.

Prof Ahmad Fauzi said based on statistics from the National Kidney Foundation, there were 38,000 Malaysians receiving dialysis treatment last year, with an average cost of RM25,272 allocated for each patient each year.

“The problem is, Malaysia has no choice but to import dialysis machines from countries such as United States, Germany, Japan and China. The cost is expensive.

“By having a locally-made dialysis machine, we expect the cost to drop by 30% for kidney patients, which is a good step in cost reduction,” said Prof Ahmad Fauzi, adding that the haemodialyser would be in the local market within the next two years.

With the creation of the haemodialyser, the team is moving on to the remaining three phases of the project to construct a dialysis machine.

Prof Ahmad Fauzi also said that as a step to commercialise the device, UTM, through its Advanced Technology Research Centre (Amtec), had signed a memorandum of understanding with Fore­sight Industries Sdn Bhd.

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