Marco FM Vismara, MD, PhD | lightScience R&D Department; Ennio Tasciotti, PhD; Antonio Valentini, MSc.
Competition Sponsor: EIT Health of the European Union
Awardee Year: 2022
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)“More than 1 in 7, that is 15% of US adults, or 37 million people, are estimated to suffer from CKD. As many as 9 in 10 adults with CKD do not know they are affected. About 2 in 5 adults with severe CKD do not know they have CKD. […] CKD is more common in people aged 65 years or older (38%) than in people aged 45–64 years (12%) or 18–44 years (6%)”. For these patients, the key to lower risk for further kidney failure is lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and physical activity, to delay as much as possible the need for dialysis or renal transplant. The main pillar of a kidney-healthy eating plan is a low protein intake. lightScience’s technology allows to measure phenylalanine (PHE) and tyrosine (TYR), two amino acids (protein components) which concentrations fluctuate the most after a high-protein meal. Our aim is to give patients affected by CKD a solution to help them realize the risks they are facing, and to find the best diet, leveraging on innovative biomarkers. Our solution is based on NIR Spectroscopy and machine learning, originally developed for Phenylketonuria patients, who need to often test their PHE levels due to an inborn metabolic error. We soon realized how our technology could bring benefits to CKD patients and to people in need of performing at their peak, i.e. astronauts and professional athletes.
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