A kidney that was grown in a laboratory has been successfully transplanted into a rat, marking a step forward in helping patients suffering from kidney failure. Says Doctors.
A kidney "grown" in the laboratory has been transplanted into animals where it started to produce urine, US scientists say.
Similar techniques to make simple body parts have already been used in patients, but the kidney is one of the most complicated organs made so far.
The researchers' vision is to take an old kidney and strip it of all its old cells to leave a honeycomb-like scaffold. The kidney would then be rebuilt with cells taken from the patient. Moreover Doctors said that "If this technology can be scaled to human-sized grafts, patients suffering from renal failure who are currently waiting for donor kidneys or who are not transplant candidates could theoretically receive new organs derived from their own cells" to prevent rejection by the immune system.
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have taken the first steps towards creating usable engineered kidneys.
They took a rat kidney and used a detergent to wash away the old cells.
The remaining web of proteins, or scaffold, looks just like a kidney, including an intricate network of blood vessels and drainage pipes. his protein plumbing was used to pump the right cells to the right part of the kidney, where they joined with the scaffold to rebuild the organ.
It was kept in a special oven to mimic the conditions in a rat's body for the next 12 days.
When the kidneys were tested in the laboratory, urine production reached 23% of natural ones.
The team then tried transplanting an organ into a rat. Once inside the body, the kidney's effectiveness fell to 5%.
Dr Harald Ott, said the potential was huge: "If you think about the United States alone, there's 100,000 patients currently waiting for kidney transplants and there's only around 18,000 transplants done a year.
"I think the potential clinical impact of a successful treatment would be enormous."
There is a huge amount of further research that would be needed before this is even considered in people. This discovery will bring revolution in the field of medical science where people can easily be treated from kidney disease. The technique needs to be more efficient so a greater level of kidney function is restored. Researchers also need to prove that the kidney will continue to function for a long time.