U.S. Scientists Create New Kidney in Lab; Offer Hope for Other Body Parts That Need Replacement

By @vitthernandez on

U.S. scientists have successfully grown in a laboratory for the first time a whole functioning kidney by removing kidney cells from a donor rat kidney and injecting the mixture of rate kidney and blood-vessel cells into a tough collagen scaffold which grew the entire body organ in culture.

Within two weeks, the bioengineered kidney could filter blood passed through the new organ and produce urine.

The development, while offering hope to thousands of dialysis patients throughout the world, could possibly be replicating for other vital body organs that would benefit from a replacement such as the liver, lungs, kidneys and hearts, using the same method of reengineering.

However, while the new kidney that was transplanted into rats was functioning, it is not as effective as a normal kidney.

"If this technology can be scaled to human-sized grafts, patients suffering from renal failure who are waiting for donor kidneys or who are not transplant candidates could theoretically receive new organs derived from their own cells," The Australian quoted Harald Ott, lead author of the study and a surgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

The study was published on Monday at the Nature Medicine journal.

Mr Ott said that while the procedure has the potential of addressing donor organ shortage and problems of organ rejection, those who receive the normal kidney transplants must take medication to suppress their immune systems for the rest of their lives.

By using a patient's own stem cell, there is lesser chance for organ rejection, he added.

The current wait time for a kidney donation is three years, resulting in deaths among renal patients yearly as doctors search for suitable organs.

"What is unique about this approach is that the native organ's architecture is preserved, so that the resulting graft can be transplanted just like a donor kidney and connected to the recipient's vascular and urinary systems," Mr Ott added.

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