Stem cells offer new hope for kidney disease patients

October 15, 2009
Stem cells offer new hope for kidney disease patients
This is Valerie LeBleu, Ph.D., and Raghu Kalluri, M.D., Ph.D., of the American Society of Nephrology. Credit: none

Several cell-based therapy approaches could provide new treatments for patients with Alport syndrome, reports an upcoming paper in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). "Our study opens up many considerations of how new therapies related to the use of stem cells can be devised for our kidney patients with chronic disease," comments Raghu Kalluri, MD, PhD (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA).

Led by Valerie LeBleu, PhD (also of Harvard Medical School), the researchers tested various types of cell-based therapy in mice with a gene defect similar to that causing Alport syndrome, a genetic kidney disease. Most often occurring in boys, Alport syndrome causes progressive kidney disease leading to kidney failure at a young age. Patients may develop hearing loss and eye disease as well. Although treatment can slow the progression of kidney disease, there is currently no cure for Alport syndrome.

The experiments provide evidence that stem cell treatments could repair the kidney defects associated with Alport syndrome. "We found that stem cells derived from adult bone marrow are equally useful as embryonic ," says Kalluri. "This will make it easier to translate these scientific discoveries to a treatment protocol for patients with Alport syndrome."

Transplantation of bone marrow from unaffected animals significantly improved kidney function in mice in the late stages of disease. Importantly, the results suggested that the beneficial effects of may be achieved without the need for radiation.

Simple blood transfusion from healthy mice also achieved dramatic improvements in kidney function and survival in the mice with end-stage kidney disease. " transplant and protocols have already been approved for previous clinical use in patients with end-stage and Alport syndrome," says Kalluri. "Therefore, clinical application of this procedure is quite feasible and may help our patients immediately." Although the results in mice are promising, real effectiveness can only be tested in human clinical trials. Kalluri adds, "Our study is an important step towards that goal."

More information: "Stem Cell Therapies Benefit Alport Syndrome," doi 10.1681/ASN.2009010123

Source: American Society of Nephrology (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Hormone that controls maturation of fat cells discovered

October 25, 2016

Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered a hormone that controls the first step in the maturation of fat cells. Its actions help explain how high-fat diets, stress and certain steroid medications ...

The tale of the bats, dark matter and a plastic surgeon

October 25, 2016

What happens when a plastic surgeon meets a bat expert zoologist and a paleobiologist? No, it's not a strange Halloween story about spooky bat dinosaurs but rather, a story about a new discovery about bats which may unlock ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.