Acute Kidney Injury or AKI is a condition resulting in a rapid inflammation and loss of kidney function. It starts as a complication from other conditions and necessitates highly specialised medical care. It presents with a high mortality rate, and survivors from AKI are at high risk for chronic kidney disease, increased morbidity and a greatly reduced quality of life.

40-60% of critical care admissions present with AKI

3 million patients in Europe and the US every year develop AKI

700,000 deaths annually due to AKI-related conditions


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a term used to describe when the kidneys are suddenly not able to filter waste products from the blood. This can happen within a few hours or a few days. For most people, AKI develops within 48 hours, but sometimes it can take as long as 7 days. The signs and symptoms of AKI can differ depending on many factors like the cause, severity, and other health conditions. If symptoms do happen, they may include one or more of the following:

  • Making less urine (pee) than usual or no urine
  • Swelling in legs, ankles, and/or feet
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Shortness of breath (trouble breathing)
  • Confusion or mood changes
  • High blood pressure
  • Decreased appetite (low desire to eat)
  • Nausea
  • Flank pain (pain on the side of your back – between your ribs and hips)
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Seizures or coma (in severe cases)


There is no specific treatment for AKI other than kidney support. Dialysis is required when AKI is too severe (stage 2 and 3) and the patient’s condition degrades. Common treatments are : 

  • Stopping any medicines that may be causing or contributing to your AKI
  • Giving you fluids (either by mouth or through your veins)
  • Antibiotics (if AKI is caused by a bacterial infection)
  • Placing a urine catheter (a thin tube used to drain your bladder, useful if AKI is caused by a blockage)
  • Dialysis (depending on the severity of damage to your kidney and/or impact on your other organs, in most cases, dialysis treatments are only temporary until the kidneys can recover.)

MexBrain’s treatment aims to remove free iron from the blood of patients, which could help decrease the severity of AKI, or prevent it. Free iron in the blood, which mainly comes from hemolysis, is considered a strong promoter of AKI. By catalyzing the Fenton Haber-Weiss reactions, it leads to the production of free radicals which in turn create oxidative stress, vascular injuries, apoptosis and ferroptosis.

MexBrain is developing a new treatment against AKI in case of Acute on Chronic Liver Failure, aiming to remove specifically free iron from the blood of these patients with a dialysis machine and MEX-CD1. A clinical trial is ongoing in France (Lyon). The objective is to remove fast enough and significantly enough iron in these patients to decrease acute symptoms and allow for a normal chronic treatment of their liver condition afterwards.