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Bioengineering breakthrough? US researchers successfully implant lab-grown rat kidney

Published time: April 15, 2013 10:49
AFP Photo / Yasuyoshi Chiba

AFP Photo / Yasuyoshi Chiba

US researchers have grown a working rat kidney in a lab, and successfully transplanted it into a living animal. The discovery may herald a scientific breakthrough, bringing scientists closer to being able to grow kidneys for humans.

The kidney, grown in a lab at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and transplanted into a rat, produces urine and functions properly, according to research published in Nature Medicine journal on Sunday.

The MGH scientists used an experimental technique that has previously been used to create working hearts, lungs and livers. The team of was led by Harald Ott, best known for his work in organ cell deconstruction.

However, much work remains to be done before it will be possible to grow a functioning, implantable human kidney, Ott pointed out.

While bioengineered kidneys can produce rudimentary urine, they functioned differently from natural ones.

Doctors talk while laparoscopic surgery is seen on a screen in the operating room during a kidney transplant. (AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski)

Ott explained that this may be due to the relative immaturity of the kidney cells used, which his group is now working to fix.

There is also a principal advantage to Ott’s method: The kidneys made in this way are “fully implantable in the shape of a kidney,” because scientists first stripped a rat’s kidney of its functional cells, leaving behind its white cellular matrix, the carcass that gives an organ its structure. Then, they regenerated the functional cells.

Approximately 100,000 people in the US are currently awaiting kidney transplants, and some 400,000 are living with an end-stage kidney disease that requires hemodialysis, the research said.

The creation of a fully functioning and transplantable kidney would prevent donor organ shortage.

Comments (9)

 

Derek Caron 06.06.2013 05:22

At what cost to the patient? How do they acquire said cells do they come from a donor or do they have to be extracted from the patient before the corruption of the cells? If that is the case when would this be done? Why would anyone of seemingly good health use $100,000 of dollars to extract cells and store them. It is impressive and there is a lot of potential to help people. I just wonder if everyone would benefit or the ones who could afford it. If the cells can come from a donor that would be truly impressive and more cost efficient. I may have missed something in the article that answered that. But i dnt rcal

 

Igor Rotaev 30.05.2013 17:06

My name is Igor, I'm from Western Europe.
I am ready to donate a kidney or part of my liver for good compensation.
I am a 30 year old man, blood group is O+, I don't drink or smoke.
I can travel anywhere worldwide to take tests and perform surgery. I will listen offer and conditions of recipient.
E-mai l me:
igorrotaev@y ahoo.com

Anonymous user 16.04.2013 16:57

Tthe original kidney must be "intact", those people with polysistic kidney disease will not benefit.

View all comments (9)
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