Saturday, 26 January 2013

Scientists create kidney tissue using induced pluripotent stem cells

Three days ago, researchers from Kyoto University, Japan reported what they consider to be a major breakthrough in stem cell research. They have managed to successfully differentiate, for the first time, stem cells into human kidney tissue. According to them, their feat has the potential to help millions of people with damaged kidneys that need constant dialysis.

The researchers, led by Kenji Osafune, reported that they have partially created a urinary tubule ( uriniferous tubule) using induced pluripotent stem cells. The urinary tubule is a small tube-like structure in the kidney in which urine is produced.

Picture of a human kidney
Image of a human kidney

Since the urinary tubule was only partially created, it is unable to produce any urine. However the researchers strongly believe that their findings pave the way for other researchers working in tissue engineering, stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

"I would say that we have arrived at the preliminary step on the road to the clinical level," said Kenji Osafune.

Mae S, Shono A, Shiota F, Yasuno T, Kajiwara M, Gotoda-Nishimura N, Arai S, Sato-Otubo A, Toyoda T, Takahashi K, Nakayama N, Cowan CA, Aoi T, Ogawa S, McMahon AP, Yamanaka S, & Osafune K (2013). Monitoring and robust induction of nephrogenic intermediate mesoderm from human pluripotent stem cells. Nature communications, 4 PMID: 23340407

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