Rats Receive Lab-Grown Kidneys
April 16, 2013 2:08 PM
They're not perfect, but they're a start
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have transplanted lab-grown kidneys into rats, which could one day fill the need for donor organs.
Harald Ott, an organ regeneration specialist, led the Massachusetts General Hospital team.
As of right now, patients with severe kidney disease require dialysis, which acts as an artificial
by removing waste and excess water from the blood. They need this in order to live, but they could be cured with a donor kidney transplant. The problem is that around 100,000 people in the U.S. alone are waiting for that donor. There is also the possibility of the body rejecting the donor organ.
But now, Ott and his team have used rat models to transplant lab-grown kidneys that could one day
Ott first took the kidneys of recently deceased rats and stripped the cells away using detergent. He then placed two cell types in the remaining scaffold that regenerated the kidneys. These cells were kidney cells from newborn rats to produce the necessary organ tissues, and human umbilical-vein cells to line the blood vessels.
The kidneys worked, but they're not perfect yet. Once they were transplanted into the rats, they produced only around one-third as much urine as normal kidneys. They also eliminated creatinine 36 times slower than normal.
However, with time and additional research, lab-grown kidneys could be scaled up to create those suitable for humans. The researchers suspect that the lab-grown kidneys require more cell types found in real human kidneys in order to function properly.
While this method may be far from clinical use, it could one day serve those who are awaiting kidney transplants and eliminate the need for dialysis.
"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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