Human Kidney Grown In Mouse From Embryonic Stem Cells

Reuters has reported an Israeli breakthru in creating functional human kidneys using human embryonic stem cells injected into mice. The stem cell line used in this work was created from human fetuses 7 to 8 weeks old and so are ineligible for follow-on kidney formation work by Federally funded US researchers under President Bush’s recent guidelines. The mice in the experiments formed small human kidneys which were integrated their circulatory system and produced urine. The work was effectively duplicated using pig stem cells to produce small pig kidneys in mice as well. Both types of kidneys did not react with human immune system cells injected into the mice, leading to the conclusion that they could probably be successfully transplanted into humans without rejection due to the presence of pig or mouse proteins. Such xenotransplantation is seen as a possible source of donor organs from animals to humans that could alleviate the shortage of human organs available for transplant. Currently over 50,000 people are awaiting a donor kidney in America alone. Xenotransplantation presents a concern of transmitting viruses across species from animals to humans, however, and is certain to be subject to strict Federal regulation as it develops as a medical therapy.

3 thoughts on “Human Kidney Grown In Mouse From Embryonic Stem Cells”

  1. I think all “Dubya’s” laws are going to do is drive the research out of the US, and into other countries, which will slow it down somewhat, but it will not stop.

    I know people have concerns about full human cloning, and everyone should, but someone somewhere will do it just to prove that they can. Should they, I don’t think so, but that won’t stop them, and neither will a law.

    I think the real potential is for replacement organs, as someone who has a family member that could use a heart/lung transplant I know the value. But to get on this list, you have to be almost at deaths door, by which time it is too late for most people.

    If it is possible it will happen, if it is impossible, it will take a little longer.

  2. Here’s a poser: Why not, as a routine part of prenatal care, take a stem cell sample from a 7-8 week-old fetus and culture it? That would, it’d seem, provide a lifelong source of genetically-matched stem cell material for that person, which could then be used to grow an [insert needed organ here] in a pig, given the preliminary results indicating that it would not be rejected simply because it’s a xenotransplant. Granted that there are some not-insignificant technological barriers involved, that would do an end-run around a lot of the thorny legal and ethical questions involved in stem-cell production, and provide relief to the massively overstrained organ donation system.

  3. Big Deal.

    1) These cells were from 8-week fetus. In human development, the kidneys are functioning at 8 weeks.

    2) Marrow cells are shown to move to the kidney and make kidney cells.

    I think developing the ‘search-and-heal’ skills of Adult Stem cells would result in a much less invasive therapy.

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