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.