New-Wave Materials Help Create Mini Functional Kidneys

This story on kidney organoids is part of an extended series on Regenerative Medicine. For other stories on this topic see and search for Regenerative Medicine. My definition of Regenerative Medicine is any medical modality that returns us to normal health when we are damaged by disease, injured by trauma, disadvantaged by birth, or worn by time. Modalities include: chemicals, genes, proteins and cells used as drugs, gene editing, prosthetics, and mind-machine interfaces. 

We may be one step closer to developing artificial kidneys as a replacement for kidney donor transplants. Recently, the Eindhoven University of Technology published a paper detailing an improved method of growing kidney organoids. This may serve as a large stepping stone towards developing complex kidney organoids that can be used as a substitute for kidney transplants.

Chronic kidney disease affects over thirty-seven million people in the United States and occurs when the kidneys are damaged and slowly lose their ability to function. Kidney transplants are a viable treatment for chronic kidney disease. However, the number of individuals that require transplants remains substantially larger than the current supply of donor organs.

A potential solution to this organ shortage is the use of kidney organoids. Much like Lego pieces can be combined to construct buildings, organoids are small components of organs that are grown within a petri dish. As different types of kidney organoids are developed and used in tandem, scientists hope that they can eventually combine each critical organoid building block to form full, working kidneys.

Read the full article on Forbes.

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.