Researchers make strides toward creating tissue-engineered kidneys

With a worldwide shortage of kidneys for patients who need kidney transplants, researchers are diligently working to find ways to engineer new kidney tissue from a patient's own cells or another source. They've come a step closer to realizing that goal with a breakthrough described in an upcoming Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) study. The advance could lead to more options for individuals with kidney failure, as well as better tools for understanding kidney diseases and how to treat them.

Investigators can produce tissues similar to immature kidneys from simple suspensions of cells, but they have been unsuccessful at growing more mature kidney tissues in the lab because the kidneys' complicated filtering units do not form without the support of blood vessels.

Now, from suspensions of single , Christodoulos Xinaris PhD (Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research) and his colleagues have for the first time constructed "organoids" that can be integrated into a living animal and carry out kidney functions including blood filtering and molecule reabsorption. Key to their success was soaking the organoids in a solution containing molecules that promote , then injecting these molecules into the recipient animals after the organoids were implanted below the kidneys. The organoids continued to mature and were viable for three to four weeks after implantation.

"The ability to build functional renal tissue starting from suspensions of single cells represents a considerable step toward the practical goal of engineering renal tissues suitable for transplantation and offers the methodological basis for a number of investigative and therapeutic applications," said Dr. Xinaris. For example, disease-related genes could be introduced into an organoid to help researchers study the mechanisms of complex kidney diseases and to perform a preliminary screening of new drugs to treat them.

More information: The article, entitled "In Vivo Maturation of Functional Renal Organoids Formed from Embryonic Cell Suspensions," will appear online on October 18, 2012, doi: 10.1681/ASN.2012050505

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Why some kidney disease patients can't repair blood vessels

Oct 27, 2011

In some kidney diseases, patients have high blood levels of a protein that blocks blood vessel repair, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN). Inhibiting th ...

Lab-engineered kidney project reaches early milestone

Jun 21, 2012

Regenerative medicine researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have reached an early milestone in a long-term project that aims to build replacement kidneys in the lab to help solve the shortage of donor organs.

Could patients' own kidney cells cure kidney disease?

Jul 27, 2011

Approximately 60 million people across the globe have chronic kidney disease, and many will need dialysis or a transplant. Breakthrough research published in the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN) indicates that p ...

Kidney drugs hampered by high blood phosphate

Aug 18, 2011

High blood phosphate levels can set chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients on a rapid path to kidney failure, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN). To mak ...

Recommended for you

Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

Oct 23, 2014

Clinical trials carried out in the former East Germany in the second half of the 20th century were not always with the full knowledge or understanding of participants with some questionable practices taking place, according ...

Schumacher's doctor sees progress after injury

Oct 23, 2014

A French physician who treated Michael Schumacher for nearly six months after the Formula One champion struck his head in a ski accident says he is no longer in a coma and predicted a possible recovery within three years.

User comments