Lab Grown Kidney Means Hope For Renal Patients

2:07 PM, Dec 18, 2013   |    comments
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AUSTRALIA (Reuters)-- Australian researchers have grown a rudimentary kidney in the laboratory from human stem cells. The development could pave the way for vastly improved treatments for kidney disease patients while also demonstrating the wider potential of bioengineered organs.

It's a tiny kidney, built from stem cells in a laboratory by researchers at the University of Queensland, among them, Dr Jessica Vanslambrouk with the University of Queensland. 

"It's only a small structure but because it's similar to what you see in embryonic kidney it's an exciting step forward." For people with chronic kidney disease, it might be a breakthrough. Not only could a bio-engineered kidney be used to test new drugs, it could also, one day be used to replace a diseased kidney without fear of rejection, eliminating the need for dialysis or human-to-human transplant.

The University's Professor Brandon Wainwright said, "It is difficult to put a time on how long it will be before we turn this into an actual functioning kidney. I mean two years ago we would never have dreamed that this was possible and today as we stand here we can see that it is completely possible."

The researchers say the development bodes well for renal patients...while demonstrating how powerful the field of tissue bioenginering is likely to become in the future.

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