Using lab-grown methods, kidney transplant may no longer be a problem, as researchers have grown a kidney in a laboratory in their attempt of creating human organs that can be used for medical purposes.
The entire process has been described in Nature journal, which was published on Wednesday. Scientists gave a detailed account of the experiments that led to the transformation of a human skin cell into a kidney’s structure.
It contained a dozen different cells and showed off the inside anatomy of a mature organ.
The result of the experiment was a first-trimester kidney, claimed Melissa Little, author of the study. At this level, the lab-grown kidney cannot be used as a transplant organ. It still has to be developed in order to be functional. However, it can be used for drug tests.
When wanting to determine how harmful for the kidney a drug’s compound can be, scientists usually resort to animal experiments. However, the results are not 100% relevant. For a drug development, a pharmaceutical company spends millions of dollars. After doing that, they discover the compound is toxic, so they have to give up to the drug and to all the money they invested. Because of kidney harmfulness, many drugs are not released on the market.
Jamie Davis, one of the study authors, believes that the lab-grown kidney will help drug companies test their products, thus replacing the animal experiments.
In addition, the research represents another step in trying to create complex body organs. Previous research managed to develop simple parts, such as arteries, but a newer one created complex parts, such as stomach and brain.
In recent years, more and more people got affected by kidney diseases, so as there is a strong deficiency in kidneys used for transplants. This is a vital organ, as it helps the body to filter the blood.
The team, however, seeks to develop further research in order to make the kidney functional for people who are in great need for it.
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