World’s first lab-grown kidney implanted into rat

Updated: Apr 16, 2013, 23:55 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: In a step that may aid scientist to get closer to being able to grow kidneys for humans, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA, have created a kidney in the laboratory, which works successfully when implanted into animals.

The bio-engineered rat kidneys successfully produced urine both in a laboratory apparatus and after being transplanted into living animals.

The team describes building functional replacement kidneys on the structure of donor organs from which living cells had been stripped, an approach previously used to create bio-artificial hearts, lungs and livers.

The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, involves kidneys of recently deceased rats and detergent, which is used to strip away the cells, leaving behind the underlying scaffold of connective tissues such as the structural components of blood vessels. They then regenerated the organ by seeding this scaffold with two cell types - human umbilical-vein cells to line the blood vessels, and kidney cells from newborn rats to produce the other tissues that make up the organ.

"What is unique about this approach is that the native organ`s architecture is preserved, so that the resulting graft can be transplanted just like a donor kidney and connected to the recipient`s vascular and urinary systems," said Harald Ott, of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine, senior author of the study.

"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," Ott said.

According to medical experts, around ten per cent of Indian adult suffer from chronic kidney diseases and nearly two lakh patients require dialysis or kidney transplant every year. However, due to lack of organs availability, only 5,000 undergo a transplant.