Online and face-to-face programmes to suit your CPD needs, apply now for September 2018
Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_95232

Miniature kidneys grown from human skin cells

12 October 2015
Appeared in BioNews 823

Australian scientists have successfully grown 'mini kidneys' from stem cells derived from skin tissue.

The team from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, have grown mini kidneys before, but this time the mini-organ, or organoid – which is a tiny ball of tissue just one centimetre across – formed all the cell types found in the human kidney.

Lead researcher Professor Melissa Little said: 'The mini-kidney we have been able to grow this time is very complex and more like the real organ.' But she cautioned that what the lab had grown is 'not a kidney, it's a kidney model'.

The team believes these new creations will respond to drugs as a normal organ might, and may even lay the foundations for bioengineering replacement kidneys in the future. They reported their findings in the journal Nature.

Professor Little's team used signalling factors to carefully direct the induced pluripotent stem cells, which were derived from skin cells, to turn into two different kidney progenitor cell types. After several weeks, the cells had spontaneously formed into kidney organoids with collecting ducts, nephrons, connective tissue and blood vessels, in a structure that appears similar to the kidney found in a developing human fetus.

Professor Jamie Davies of the University of Edinburgh, who was not involved in the study, explained that a fully functioning, lab-grown kidney is not just around the corner: 'There is a long way to go until transplantable kidneys can be engineered, but [the new] protocol is a valuable step in the right direction.'

The research should, however, allow scientists to make model kidneys from specific patients, using their own skin cells, which could be used to test treatments. 'Making stem cells from patients with kidney disease, and then growing a [mini] kidney that matches the patient, will help us understand that patient's disease and develop treatments for them,' Professor Little said.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Kidney organoids from human iPS cells contain multiple lineages and model human nephrogenesis
Nature |  7 October 2015
Mini-Kidneys from Stem Cells
The Scientist |  7 October 2015
Mini-kidneys grown from human skin stem cells
Wired |  8 October 2015
Scientists grow mini-kidney in lab
University of Queensland (press release) |  8 October 2015
Stem cells from human skin turned into kidney tissue
The Guardian |  7 October 2015
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
16 April 2018 - by Sarah Gregory 
Researchers in the USA have created patient-specific organoids that mimic the effects of bladder cancer tumours...
26 February 2018 - by Sarah Pritchard 
Researchers have tested cancer drugs on lab-grown 'mini-tumours' and say the results mean that the most appropriate treatment for a patient with cancer could be given faster in future...
2 May 2017 - by Sarah Gregory 
New brain organoids have been created to show development of both healthy human brain cells and those associated with genetic disorders...
18 July 2016 - by Arit Udoh 
A group of international scientists have announced plans to work collaboratively on a research project that aims to develop human cancer models that would better mimic the disease...
22 February 2016 - by Dr Lanay Griessner 
Miniature brains made out of clusters of human cells could revolutionise high-throughput drug screening, said scientists at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Washington, DC, earlier this month...
28 September 2015 - by Dr Greg Ball 
Researchers in Japan have found a way to overcome a major obstacle to using stem-cell grown kidneys in animals...
24 August 2015 - by Dr Julia Hill 
For the first time, an almost fully formed human brain has been grown in the lab, according to scientists from Ohio State University...
3 November 2014 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
Scientists in the USA have for the first time created three-dimensional stomach tissue from human pluripotent stem cells...
27 October 2014 - by Siobhan Chan 
A section of functioning human intestine has been transplanted into mice, giving scientists a new model with which to study intestinal diseases...
14 April 2014 - by Dr Nicola Davis 
A lab in London where scientists grow human noses and windpipes has opened its doors to the press...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.