An international team of researchers led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore has grown ‘miniature kidneys’ in the laboratory that could be used to better understand how kidney diseases develop in individual patients.
The mini kidneys, known as kidney organoids, were grown outside the body from skin cells derived from a patient who has polycystic kidney disease.
The researchers reprogrammed these cells to obtain patient-specific pluripotent stem cells, which can develop into kidney organoids similar to human foetal kidneys.
The research, led by NTU Singapore Assistant Professor Xia Yun and her team, which includes NTU Assistant Professor Foo Jia Nee and Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in San Diego, California, was published in Cell Stem Cell.
Assistant Professor Xia from the NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) said, “Our kidney organoids, grown from the cells of a patient with inherited polycystic kidney disease, have allowed us to find out which drugs will be most effective for this specific patient. We believe that this approach can be extended to study many other types of kidney disease, such as diabetic nephropathy.”