Scottish scientists grow kidneys in labPublished On: Sun, Apr 10th, 2011 | Kidney Diseases | By BioNews
Scottish scientists have made a breakthrough in organ transplantation by successfully growing kidneys in a laboratory.
The development could help tackle the tragic shortage of organs for transplant, reports the Scotsman.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh created the organs by manipulating stem cells – early cells that are the building blocks of the body – to form the structure of a kidney.
They then managed to create kidneys that measure just half a centimetre in length – the same size as a kidney in a foetus, which they hope will be able to grow to maturity after being transplanted into patients” bodies.
The kidneys were grown in the laboratory using a combination of cells from amniotic fluid – the fluid that surrounds all babies in the womb – and animal foetal cells.
The technique holds out the prospect of scientists being able to collect amniotic fluid at birth to be stored until needed at a later date if a patient develops kidney disease.
The patient”s own amniotic fluid cells can then be used as the base for creating a new kidney.
Using the patient”s own cells will, in theory, also end the problem of rejection that arises when an organ from a deceased donor is used.
The Edinburgh researchers are at the forefront of a global attempt to use stem cells culled from amniotic fluid to create new human kidneys.
The study will be presented at the Edinburgh Science Festival later this month.