Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2013 December 16

Kidney Successfully Grown From Stem Cells




Kidney (Photo :

University of Queensland researchers successfully grew a kidney from stem cells, a major leap toward solving the problem of scarcity of organs for transplant, according to a press release.

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There is a growing demand for organ donations, especially kidneys, which is hard to meet. Last year, 16,812 kidney transplants took place in the United States. Of these, 11,043 kidney transplants came from deceased donors and 5,769 came from live donors. University of Queensland researchers have taken a major leap forward in eliminating this scarcity by growing a kidney from stem cells.

The breakthrough opens up doors for better kidney failure and renal diseases treatment. Currently, the only options to treat chronic kidney disease are kidney transplants and dialysis.

"Only one in four patients will receive a donated organ, and dialysis is an ongoing and restrictive treatment regime," Professor Melissa Little from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) said in the press statement. "We need to improve outcomes for patients with this debilitating condition, which costs Australia $1.8 billion a year."

During the study, researchers created a code that prompted stem cells to create all the necessary types of cell that are needed to create a mini-kidney.

"During self-organisation, different types of cells arrange themselves with respect to each other to create the complex structures that exist within an organ, in this case, the kidney," Professor Little said. "The fact that such stem cell populations can undergo self-organisation in the laboratory bodes well for the future of tissue bioengineering to replace damaged and diseased organs and tissues."

Researchers said that the code used in this study can also be used to identify drugs that can be harmful to the kidney without clinical trials.  However, this is still a long way and many testing to go before the artificial kidney can be used in human trials.

Earlier in April this year, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine created a lab-grown kidney for a rat that performs everything a natural one does. They created the synthetic kidney by applying the bioengineering process used in the manufacture of artificial human windpipes, the first of which was transplanted into a Spanish woman with a collapsed trachea in 2008.

In July this year, Yokohama City University researchers created the first functional human liver from stem cells derived from flesh and blood.

"We successfully generated … functional human liver," the Japanese team said at the time in a press statement. While emphasizing that they still have a long way to go, they said their approach can help address the "critical shortage of donor organs for treating end-stage organ failure."

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