Team grows kidney from stem cells

(Medical Xpress)—University of Queensland researchers have made a major leap forward in treating renal disease, today announcing they have grown a kidney using stem cells.

The breakthrough paves the way for improved treatments for patients with and bodes well for the future of the wider field of bioengineering organs.

Professor Melissa Little from UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), who led the study, said new treatments for kidney disease were urgently needed.

"One in three Australians is at risk of developing and the only therapies currently available are and dialysis," Professor Little said.

"Only one in four patients will receive a donated organ, and dialysis is an ongoing and restrictive treatment regime.

"We need to improve outcomes for patients with this debilitating condition, which costs Australia $1.8 billion a year."

The team designed a protocol that prompts to form all the required cell types to 'self-organise' into a mini-kidney in a dish.

"During self-organisation, different types of cells arrange themselves with respect to each other to create the complex structures that exist within an organ, in this case, the kidney," Professor Little said.

"The fact that such stem cell populations can undergo self-organisation in the laboratory bodes well for the future of tissue bioengineering to replace damaged and diseased organs and tissues."

"It may also act as a powerful tool to identify drug candidates that may be harmful to the kidney before these reach clinical trial."

Professor Little cautioned that there was a long way to go before this might be ready for human trials, but that it was an exciting step forward.

Queensland Minister for Science and Innovation Ian Walker congratulated Professor Little and said biomedical research was crucial in ensuring a healthier future for Queenslanders.

"The work by the IMB research team is an important milestone in developing improved treatments for chronic kidney disease and will ensure those with the condition can continue to live fulfilling and productive lives," Mr Walker said.

The research team included Dr Minoru Takasato, Pei Er, Melissa Becroft, Dr Jessica Vanslambrouck from IMB and Professor Andrew Elefanty and Professor Ed Stanley from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Monash University.

The research is published in the scientific journal Nature Cell Biology and supported by the Queensland Government, the Australian Research Council as part of the Stem Cells Australia Strategic Research Initiative, and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

More information: Directing human embryonic stem cell differentiation towards a renal lineage generates a self-organizing kidney, Nature Cell Biology (2013) DOI: 10.1038/ncb2894

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Are my muscular dystrophy drugs working?

1 hour ago

People with muscular dystrophy could one day assess the effectiveness of their medication with the help of a smartphone-linked device, a new study in mice suggests. The study used a new method to process ...

Cell death proteins key to fighting disease

11 hours ago

Melbourne researchers have uncovered key steps involved in programmed cell death, offering new targets for the treatment of diseases including lupus, cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.

Unlocking the secrets of pulmonary hypertension

Oct 30, 2014

A UAlberta team has discovered that a protein that plays a critical role in metabolism, the process by which the cell generates energy from foods, is important for the development of pulmonary hypertension, a deadly disease.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

betterexists
3 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2013
People will get excited the day a Heart OR Brain are Recreated with EMBRYONIC Stem Cells!
StarGazer2011
not rated yet Dec 16, 2013
Misleading headline and just a regurgitated press release (heres the orginal word for word : http://www.imb.uq...d=12193)

Doesn't describe the research but at least it mentions an interesting discovery; self organisation of the cells.

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.