Bioengineered kidney transplanted into rat

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Cleansed of cells and repopulated anew, organ successfully produces urine


By stripping a kidney of its cells and repopulating it with new ones, scientists have shown in a rat that a bioengineered kidney can function to some extent like a normal one. The work, published April 14 in Nature Medicine, reveals that the protein scaffold of a kidney provides the architecture and chemical cues that new cells need to adopt the roles of kidney cells.

The results may one day assist in alleviating the transplant organ shortage by providing patients with refurbished kidneys. If bioengineering techniques can make use of kidney scaffolds that come from animals or cadavers whose kidneys would otherwise have been discarded, it could provide many kidneys for transplant, says Shay Soker, a cell biologist at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., who was not involved in the study.

The study deserves high marks for advancing techniques that others may adopt in bioengineering kidneys, says Edward Ross, a nephrologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “This is still very early, but they’ve come a long way. It’s really beautiful work.”

The kidney is a complex organ that performs the delicate work of filtering waste out of the blood and keeping electrolytes balanced. When kidneys fail, a person’s only options are dialysis or a kidney transplant. But candidates for kidney transplant far outnumber available donors.

Written By: Nathan Seppa
continue to source article at sciencenews.org

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  1. Hmm. So translated…
    “Researchers create kidney with 0% prospects for long term survival.”
    “In the future articifial organs might be transplated into people!”
    Many animals died (somewhat pointlessly) to bring us this information.

    It’s a step forwards. But I don’t imagine rat and human cells get along too well, especially inside a functional immune system. I’d also personally have waited until the filter systems bore more than a passing resembalance to their actual functional counterparts before putting it inside any living creature.

    • In reply to #2 by ANTIcarrot:
      >

      “Researchers create kidney with 0% prospects for long term survival.”

      Well, they had to start somewhere.

      “In the future articifial organs might be transplated into people!”

      I thought to point was these are not artificial, though the method of re-engineering them is entirely so.

      Many animals died (somewhat pointlessly) to bring us this information.

      The reality of animal experimentation may be unpleasant, but hardly pointless.

      It’s a step forwards. But I don’t imagine rat and human cells get along too well, especially inside a functional immune system.

      There I tend to agree with you.
      >

      I’d also personally have waited until the filter systems bore more than a passing resembalance to their actual functional counterparts before putting it inside any living creature.

      But without the previous experimentation they would never get to the stage where they could implant.

    • In reply to #2 by ANTIcarrot:

      Hmm. So translated…
      “Researchers create kidney with 0% prospects for long term survival.”

      At least not yet for long term survival.

      “In the future articifial organs might be transplated into people!”

      Artificial bladders have been transplanted already. (see comment @3)

      Many animals died (somewhat pointlessly) to bring us this information.

      Not really! Actual progress is being made which should soon come to fruition.

      It’s a step forwards. But I don’t imagine rat and human cells get along too well, especially inside a functional immune system.

      They used rat cells to implant into an experimental rat. For grown human organs, human cells are used – preferably the recipient’s own human cells.

      I’d also personally have waited until the filter systems bore more than a passing resemblance to their actual functional counterparts before putting it inside any living creature.

      The example of a similar experiment I give @3, has these properties for the sheep experiment.

    • In reply to #2 by ANTIcarrot:

      … I’d also personally have waited until the filter systems bore more than a passing resembalance to their actual functional counterparts before putting it inside any living creature.

      To add a little to Somerset’s and Alan4′s comprehensive replies, that the implanted kidney actually produced regulatory proteins and urine implies rather strongly that there are functioning nephrons. The sheep experiment is not an implantable organ whereas this is proof-of-concept of a repurposing an organ and possibly shortcutting build-time by using an existing biological scaffold to regulate growth rather than waiting for cells to spread and work out where they should ‘go’ de-novo.

      If this could be made to work with cadaveric or live donated kidneys (with no need to tissue-match), it could solve a huge problem.

  2. This work seems to be progressing well with various projects, producing ears, bladders, jawbones, hearts, lungs, etc. Here is a link to an earlier article:-

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/03/big-idea/organ-regeneration-text

    A new kind of solution is incubating in medical labs: “bioartificial” organs grown from the patient’s own cells. Thirty people have received lab-grown bladders already, and other engineered organs are in the pipeline.

    The bladder technique was developed by Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Researchers take healthy cells from a patient’s diseased bladder, cause them to multiply profusely in petri dishes, then apply them to a balloon-shaped scaffold made partly of collagen, the protein found in cartilage. Muscle cells go on the outside, urothelial cells (which line the urinary tract) on the inside. “It’s like baking a layer cake,” says Atala. “You’re layering the cells one layer at a time, spreading these toppings.” The bladder-to-be is then incubated at body temperature until the cells form functioning tissue. The whole process takes six to eight weeks.

    Solid organs with lots of blood vessels, such as kidneys or livers, are harder to grow than hollow ones like bladders. But Atala’s group—which is working on 22 organs and tissues, including ears—recently made a functioning piece of human liver. One tool they use is similar to an ink-jet printer; it “prints” different types of cells and the organ scaffold one layer at a time.

    Other labs are also racing to make bioartificial organs. A jawbone has sprouted at Columbia University and a lung at Yale. At the University of Minnesota, Doris Taylor has fabricated a beating rat heart, growing cells from one rat on a scaffold she made from the heart of another by washing off its own cells.

    And at the University of Michigan, H. David Humes has created an artificial kidney from cells seeded onto a synthetic scaffold. The cell-phone-size kidney has passed tests on sheep—it’s not yet implantable, but it’s wearable, unlike a dialysis machine, and it does more than filter toxins from blood. It also makes hormones and performs other kidney functions.

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