15 September 2014
Research conducted at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has overcome a major challenge facing the construction of kidneys.
The ability to build replacement organs could hold promise for patients that enter failure or have diseases and would ease the reliance of transplantation. In this latest study, regenerative medicine researchers used human-sized pig kidneys to develop a new method to keep blood vessels open and ensure a steady flow to the new organ.
The work, published in the journal Technology, is the most successful approach yet as the human-sized organ remained open four hours after creation. Now more research will be conducted to see how long this blood flow can be maintained.
If this further research succeeds, this new method could be applied to other, more complex organs such as the liver or pancreas.
The current study is part of a long-term project to use pig kidneys to support structures known as "scaffolds" that could potentially be used to build replacement kidneys for patients in the latter stages of kidney failure. The method involves first removing all animal cells from the organ, leaving just a skeleton, and then replacing the cells with those from a patient.
Posted by Philip Briggs
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