A group of Japanese scientific researchers have made potential groundbreaking progress for those dependent on dialysis by growing human kidney tissue from stem cells.
Even though a damaged human kidney is not easily repairable, the scientists believe that their findings may be able to aid with the restoration of diseased kidneys.
According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the scientific researcher spearheading the project, Kenji Osafune of Kyoto University, revealed that his team had taken stem cells or 'blank slates' and molded them into kidney-like tissue. He added that the stem cells or 'blank slates were capable of being programmed' to become any type of cell.
The team of pioneers had progressed to the point of formulating intermediate mesoderm tissue from the slate or stem cells, a type of tissue developed midway to fully fledged organ tissue.
Said Osafune whose research was published in the online science journal Nature Communications, “There are about 200 types of cells in the human body, but this tissue grows into only three types of cells, namely adrenal cells, reproductive gland cells and kidney cells.” He added that 90 percent of the cultures utilized in their project had progressed into ‘viable mesoderm tissue’.
Osafune’s team had developed a section of a urinary tubule derived from kidney cells from a mouse embryo in their research. A urinary tubule is a winding tube of the vertebrate kidney in which urine is formed.
Osafune noted that the mesoderm tissue also known as embryonic intermediary could be developed in human beings into ‘specific kidney cells’ or artificially via a test tube.
He said that their research objective had not been to develop an entire fully functional kidney, but that it would play a pivotal role in teaching other researchers about mesoderm tissue development.
“I would say that we have arrived at the preliminary step on the road to the clinical level,” said Osafune.
Osafune added that their research could possibly make provision for 'a source of cells for regenerative therapy'.
A cat scan of diseased polycystic kidneys.Patients with this condition eventually need dialysis.