Thursday, 17 October 2013

Researchers use stem cells to treat Chronic Kidney Disease and Heart Failure in rats

Dr. Darren Yuen 
Scientists at St. Michael's Hospital are using adult bone marrow stem cells as they investigate a completely new way of treating chronic kidney disease and heart failure in rats.

Dr. Darren Yuen and Dr. Richard Gilbert were the first to show, in 2010, that enriched stem cells improved heart and kidney function in rats with both diseases.

But they and other scientists wondered about the potential side effects of returning those cells to the body, such as forming tumours.

In a paper published online today in the journal Stem Cells, Drs. Yuen and Gilbert said they have since found that enriched bone marrow stem cells secrete hormones in the petri dish that, if injected into rats, has the same positive impact as the stem cells.

"We've shown that we can use these hormones, collected in the dish, to replicate the beneficial effects of the stem cells in treating animals with chronic kidney disease and heart failure. In our view, this is a significant advance for stem cell therapies because it gets around having to inject stem cells." said Dr. Yuen, a nephrologist. 

Dr. Richard Gilbert

Dr. Yuen said they do not yet know what kind of hormone the cells are secreting. Identifying the hormone would be the first step toward the goal of developing a synthetic drug.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is much more prevalent than was once believed, with recent estimates suggesting that up to 5 per cent of the Canadian population may be affected. The number of people with CKD and end-stage renal failure is expected to rise as the population ages and more people develop Type 2 diabetes. People with kidney disease often develop heart disease, and many of them die from heart failure rather than kidney failure.

CKD does not usually cause symptoms until reaching an advanced stage. It is usually detected at earlier stages by blood and urine tests. Main symptoms of advanced kidney disease include:
  • Tiredness
  • Swollen ankles, feet or hands (due to water retention)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Blood in the urineReference

- Kim Alexander Connelly, Yanling Zhang, Andrew Advani, Suzanne L. Advani, Kerri Thai, Darren A. Yuen, Richard E. Gilbert. (2013). DPP-4 Inhibition Attenuates Cardiac Dysfunction and Adverse Remode Cardiovascular Therapeutics

1 comment:

  1. A New Approach to Treating Chronic Kidney Disease: Replenishing Your Nephrons

    I have chronic kidney disease, and as someone interested in both stem cells and gene therapy, have searched the web for stem cell and/or gene therapy approaches that might be a solution to the problem of diseased and failed nephrons (that filter the blood) in the kidneys and cause CKD.

    I recently saw a news release that suggested the researchers might have found a feasible solution, although in a very early stage of research. I got in touch with Professor Melissa Little leading the research and requested a copy of her team’s research paper – and then tried to read it! Wow, way beyond my scope, but I found an earlier paper by the same lead authors, and this one I could understand, and with the news releases, was able to summarize what the researchers had done to the Professor Little’s satisfaction (via email message to me).

    So, if you know someone with CKD, there is hope down the road, especially if other researchers will join the fight to ultimately find the solution.

    To read my writeup, please follow this link:


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