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Bioengineered kidney works in lab rat


10:38, April 17, 2013

BEIJING, April 16 (Xinhuanet) -- A bioengineered kidney is able to produce urine when transplanted into a rat, according to a new study by the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine,as quoted by media reports Tuesday.

To create the kidney, the researchers first removed kidneys from rats and treated them with a detergent solution that stripped all living cells from the organ, leaving only a scaffold of fibrous proteins.

Then, the researchers built a new kidney around the scaffold, using human umbilical cord cells and kidney cells from newborn rats.

To disperse the cells onto the scaffold, the researchers made a pressure gradient that "sucked" the new cells into the right place in the kidney.

The bioengineered kidney grew in chambers that contained nutrients to simulate the inside of the body. Then, the kidney was transplanted into rat that had one of its kidneys removed.

"If this technology can be scaled to human-sized grafts, patients suffering from renal failure who are currently waiting for donor kidneys could theoretically receive new organs derived from their own cells," said study researcher Dr. Harald Ott, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine.

Much more work is needed to see if the same technology could be used to engineer human kidneys, the researchers said, but hoping that eventually, such a method could be an option for those who have kidney failure.

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