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Scientists get closer to developing bioartificial kidney

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PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.technology.org/2013/07/15/project-seeks-to-create-bioartificial-kidney/

PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.technology.org/2013/07/15/project-seeks-to-create-bioartificial-kidney/

Investigators are getting closer to creating a functional bioartificial kidney. A bioartificial kidney could replace the need for dialysis or transplantation in the millions of patients with kidney failure.

A key requirement for such a device is the formation of a “living membrane” that consists of a tight kidney cell layer on artificial membrane surfaces and can transport molecules from one side to the other.

In their latest work, Dimitrios Stamatialis, PhD (University of Twente, in The Netherlands), Roos Masereeuw, PhD (University of Utrecht, in The Netherlands), and their teams achieved this using conditionally immortalized human renal proximal tubular epithelial cells (ciPTECs) on polyethersulfone-based hollow fiber membranes. They demonstrated that the cell monolayer is indeed functional as a living membrane.

“This study shows the successful development of a living membrane consisting of a reproducible ciPTEC monolayer on hollow fiber membranes, an important step towards the development of a bioartificial kidney device,” said Prof. Stamatialis. “The strategies and methods of this work could be relevant to the development of other bioartificial organs, such as a bioartificial liver or bioartificial pancreas, and organs on chips – such as a kidney on chip, a lung on chip, or a liver on chip.”

The study is titled “Development of a Bioartificial Kidney Device” was published in Medical News Today.

Also, scientists report in Nature Medicine using human pluripotent stem cells to grow human intestinal tissues that have functioning nerves in a laboratory, and then using these to recreate and study a severe intestinal nerve disorder called Hirschsprung’s disease.

Published online, the findings describe an unprecedented approach to engineer and study tissues in the intestine – the body’s largest immune organ, its food processor and main interface with the outside world. Study authors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, United States (U.S.), say the paper puts medical science a step closer to using human pluripotent stem cells (which can become any cell type in the body) for regenerative medicine and growing patient-specific human intestine for transplant.

This ability starts with being able to model and study intestinal disorders in functioning, three-dimensional human organ tissue with genetically-specific patient cells. The technology will also allow researchers to test new therapeutics in functioning lab-engineered human intestine before clinical trials in patients.

Also, a simple saliva test may be helpful for diagnosing kidney disease, especially in developing countries.

Simple and inexpensive tools for the diagnosis of kidney disease are lacking. Viviane Calice-Silva, MD, PhD (Pro-Kidney Foundation, Brazil) and her colleagues evaluated the diagnostic performance of a salivary urea nitrogen (SUN) dipstick, in Malawi, a low resource country in Africa.

Among 742 individuals who were studied, investigators diagnosed 146 patients with kidney disease using standard tests. High SUN levels were associated not only with the standard diagnostic tests, but also with a higher risk of early death.


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