Lab Grown Kidneys Transplanted Into Animals For Very First Time

Kidneys, as depicted in a diagram. (Wikybrew)

Human kidneys, as depicted in a diagram. (Wikybrew)

Lab Grown Kidneys Transplanted Into Animals For Very First Time


Researchers at the Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo have detailed the alleged successful transplant of functional kidneys created in a lab for the very first time in both rats and pigs.

Using a technique they call the “stepwise peristaltic ureter” system (SWPU) researchers were able to successfully attach the partially lab-grown kidneys into host subjects, allowing for continued growth of the new kidney while avoiding problems like hydronephrosis (blockage of the ureter tubes disallowing the passage of urine from kidney to  bladder). Kidneys were grown from embryonic tissue in all subjects.

Donor Organs Lacking

Most problems with kidney transplants result in a lack of donor organs, as well as rejection of the foreign tissue in patients who need them most. In living donors, the list of health and lifestyle issues which may disqualify a potential candidate for selection, is rather steep. Everything from diabetes to high-blood pressure and past history of psychiatric illness could see potential donors turned away, with deceased donors being the #1 source of transplantable organ tissues. Moreover, wait lists consist of a complex process, between finding persons who match via blood type, white blood cell (leukocyte) and other antibody factors.

Lab-Grown Fetal Donors vs. Adult Stem-Cell Donors

Application of these techniques in human trials could be soon around the corner. While recent research has revealed that it is possible to grow organs from host adult (or, pluripotent) stem cells, eliminating rejection of the tissue in most cases, techniques of attaching these lab-grown kidneys were fundamentally lacking. In this scenario, if successful, the donor AND the recipient could both be the same person!

Pluripotent stem cells direct from the patient needing the transplant would also quell social issues surrounding the use of human fetal tissue in these procedures. Would the SWPU systems approach in attaching the newly growing-kidney still apply in this case? It’s too early to say, but researchers in the embryonic stem-cell camp feel confident that these controversial methods with humans could be in our nearer future.

What do you think? Should receiving an organ transplant from lab-grown tissue sourced from a fetus even be a question? Should we look first toward the adult stem-cell donors for more practical purposes like reducing rates of rejection? What are your thoughts?

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Staff Writer

Leo Ashcraft

A retired broadcast engineer, talk show host, news reporter - I have done everything there is to do in the radio broadcast business. I worked a year in television. I left that as my true passion has always been radio - plus I got tired of hearing - you have a face for radio.. I hope you enjoy my articles! Be sure to share them excessively on facebook - like our page and bug your friends with invites!

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