At first, it might sound like something out of Dr. Frankenstein’s lab, but it’s much more interesting than that could ever hope to be. In fact, if this works in more experiments, it could change the lives of many who have kidney problems and who are awaiting transplants right now. We know that in the United States alone, close to a hundred thousand people are waiting for kidneys. Now, kidneys engineered in the lab are able to produce about a third as much urine as our natural kidneys.
The bioengineered organs, when placed in rodents, were actually able to filter the blood and produce urine successfully. The method of bioengineering, created by Harald Ott, a specialist in organ regeneration, has been around since 2008, but it is now showing even more promise. He and his team have been able to use the same techniques to create hearts and lungs.
Even though the research really is still relatively new and it will take a long time to move up to humans, there is quite a bit of excitement surrounding this. It has the potential to erase the wait list for people who need to have kidneys. Because they will become relatively simple to grow, it should also help to cut down the costs.
They have the potential to scale up and create human kidneys without a need to match genetically. They feel that they may even be able to use “scaffolding” from animals to create bioengineered kidneys for people. With this method, there is very little risk that the human will reject the kidney. This is still a very real danger when it comes to traditional kidney transplants. It is still a long way from becoming a reality in humans, but it does seem as though we are on our way.
Our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, we recommend you work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you.