Lab-grown kidneys may soon be a reality for humans
Researchers have succeeded in building a functioning kidney built from newborn rat cells.
And it’s being called a major step towards personalized transplant organs for humans.
Dr. Harald Ott of Massachusetts General Hospital and his team of scientists grew a kidney using an experimental technique that has successfully been used to make working hearts, lungs and livers.
Ott took a rat kidney and scrubbed out its working cells using medical detergent. What was left behind was a white cellular matrix, a scaffold made of collagen that gives the organ its form.
The research team added kidney and blood vessel cells from baby rats and cultured the growing live organ for 12 days. The cells grew to cover the scaffold. The team then put the kidney into a living rat. It successfully filtered the animal’s blood and produced urine.
The process builds on techniques designed by the American bioengineer Doris Taylor, who first used it in 2008. Taylor described the collagen structure left behind after the bleach has done its work as being like the “gristle” in a steak.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, 1 in 10 American adults, more than 20 million, have some level of chronic kidney disease. By the end of 2009, more than 871,000 people were being treated for end-stage renal disease in the USA.