April 16, 2013
Scientists have successfully bioengineered a kidney and implanted it into a living creature – work which could be an important step forward in the search for personalized replacement organs that could be transplanted into patients with kidney failure, according to media reports published Sunday.
According to Alok Jha, science correspondent with The Guardian, Dr. Harald Ott of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and colleagues took rat kidneys and used a solution of detergent to remove their functional cells. He then took the remaining cellular matrices – the collagen frames which gives the organs their three-dimensional structure – and then covered them with kidney and blood vessel cells from newborn rats.
Ott and his team then cultured the growing organs for 12 days until the cells had grown to the point where they covered the cellular matrix. They then implanted a kidney into a living rat, where it was able to filter the rodent’s blood and successfully produced urine. The research is described in its entirety in Sunday’s edition of the journal Nature Medicine.