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Hemodialysis: Canadian Study Describes Improved Membrane to Reduce Complications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Amira Abdelrasoul, Ph.D., P. Eng.Associate Professor, Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Division of Biomedical Engineering
University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Abdelrasoul

Amira Abdelrasoul, Ph.D., P. Eng.
Associate Professor, Chemical and Biomedical EngineeringDepartment of Chemical and Biological EngineeringDivision of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of Saskatchewan



MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The background of this study lies in the pursuit of improving the compatibility of dialysis membranes used in hospitals. My team sought to enhance the performance of these membranes by incorporating heparin, a widely recognized anticoagulant. Existing heparin-grafted membranes carried a negative charge, resulting in adverse blood-membrane interactions and complications for dialysis patients. The study aimed to overcome these issues and create a neutralized membrane surface that maintains the benefits of heparin while minimizing undesirable interactions.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response:  The study’s main findings include the successful development of a dialysis membrane that exhibits improved compatibility. The membrane demonstrated a stable hydration layer ten times greater than unmodified membranes, reduced adsorption of proteins both on the surface and within membrane layers, decreased biomarkers related to blood clot formation and cell destruction, and stability throughout dialysis sessions.

In general, a dialysis membrane should be cost-effective when achieving benefits for patients and improved patient outcomes are the most important considerations. Eventually, the investments will be made. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Readers should understand the importance of compatibility between dialysis membranes and patients’ blood in hemodialysis treatment. The study showcases a novel approach that combines the benefits of heparin with a neutralized membrane surface to minimize complications such as blood clotting, inflammation, and tissue damage. These findings have the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for dialysis patients by reducing the negative effects associated with current dialysis membrane technologies.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?

Response: Based on this study, future research directions could involve exploring the membrane’s compatibility with a broader range of patient demographics, including biological sex, race, age, and pre-existing medical conditions, to enhance its applicability. Our mobile app, which includes patient surveys, is expected to correlate patient experiences with membrane types and clinical practices to further optimize treatment outcomes.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?

Response: I would like to acknowledge the Canadian Light Source (CLS), which provided advanced synchrotron imaging capabilities crucial for understanding the behavior of the modified membranes. Using the BMIT beamline helped us understand when and why proteins accumulate and block the membranes under different conditions. As a result, we designed a new membrane with new chemistry and structures that have improved performance with fewer adsorbed proteins inside membrane pores, layer by layer across the membrane thickness. These improvements are so important to reduce the serious side effects that hemodialysis patients face in both the short and long term.

We do not have any disclosures.


Kalugin D, Bahig J, Shoker A, Abdelrasoul A. Heparin-Immobilized Polyethersulfone for Hemocompatibility Enhancement of Dialysis Membrane: In Situ Synchrotron Imaging, Experimental, and Ex Vivo Studies. Membranes. 2023; 13(8):718. https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes13080718

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Last Updated on August 28, 2023 by Marie Benz