A EUROPE-wide study co-ordinated by a Scottish university has received a £2.2 million grant to investigate new ways of improving kidney dialysis treatment.

The four-year project brings together Dundee University's Medical School, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and industrial partners.

It has been awarded funding from the European Union's Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnership & Pathways programme to develop technology that will improve dialysis delivery.

More than 250,000 patients across Europe - around 2100 in Scotland - require kidney dialysis, and this figure is increasing at between 4% and 6% annually.

Haemodialysis, the most common treatment, sees blood taken from a vascular access site in the arm, passed through a dialysis machine and returned to the patient three times a week. The problem is vascular access sites fail in at least half of patients in the first year, leading to infections, hospital stays and operations.

The ReDVA - Development of hemodynamic solutions in Renal Dialysis Venous Access - consortium will examine the problems that occur during long-term haemodialysis.

Lead researcher Professor Graeme Houston, of the Medical Research Institute at Dundee, said: "New techniques in imaging the vessel with ultrasound and MRI before it blocks, combined with improved surgical technique and vascular devices offers a real prospect of improving the lives of kidney failure patients."