ISLAMABAD: Australian scientists claimed to have made a first complex human organ from stem cells, after growing a tiny kidney in a laboratory dish, a breakthrough that could lead to better ways of treating renal disease.
The development is said to be an exciting step forward on bioengineering field that could save thousands who die due to kidney failure the ‘The Age’ newspaper reported.
Prof Melissa Little, from the University of Queensland’s Institute for
Molecular Bioscience, said the team designed a protocol that prompted stem cells to “self-organise” into a mini-kidney in a dish said the findings published in the scientific journal Nature Cell Biology.
“During self-organisation, different types of cells arrange themselves with respect to each other to create the complex structures that exist within an organ, in this case, the kidney,” Little said.
“The fact that such stem cell populations can undergo self-organisation in the laboratory bodes well for the future of tissue bioengineering to replace damaged and diseased organs and tissues,” she added.
Little said it could also be a powerful tool to identify drugs that could be harmful to the kidneys before they reached clinical trials.
“Three organs are often damaged by drugs – the liver, heart and kidney. If you could work out earlier which drugs were toxic to the kidney, you wouldn’t spend half a billion dollars.”
“Only one in four patients will receive a donated organ, and dialysis is an ongoing and restrictive treatment regime,” she said.
“We need to improve outcomes for patients with this debilitating condition, which costs Australia 1.8 billion dollar a year,” she said, adding that there was much work still to be done.