More than 51,000 people are treated every year in the UK for end-stage kidney failure and 90% of those who are on the waiting list for organs are waiting for kidneys. A shortage of organs means that every year fewer than 3,000 transplants are carried out, however, while more than 3,000 people die waiting for a transplant.
There is no cure for kidney failure. The only available treatments – dialysis or receiving a transplant – just buy a patient more time but come with considerable limitations on quality of life. A patient on dialysis is advised to drink less than a litre of fluid per day, for example. And kidney transplants only last between 10 to 15 years on average, in addition to any complications caused by immune rejection.