Stem Cells Utilized to Generate “Mini-Kidney”

Three-Dimensional kidneys will allow doctors to better study kidney diseases.

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have developed a method for generating a small, three-dimensional kidney structure thus enabling researchers to better understand various kidney diseases and to enhance the development of more personalized, effective treatment options. Kidney disease is a significant health issue with Chronic Kidney Diseases affecting one in every 10 American adults.

The scientists first differentiated human stem cells into early kidney cells, and then used adult kidney cells from mice to induce the stem cells to grow into miniature versions of the entire organ structure. According to Ignacio Sancho-Martinez, the lead study author, “Our differentiation strategies represent the cornerstone of disease modeling and drug discovery studies.” Ultimately, these techniques can utilize the patient’s own stem cells to study and treat prevalent kidney diseases.

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