Scientists make lab-grown kidney
One of the major issues faced in organ transplantation is rejection. However, scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital may have taken a significant step in bypassing problems of rejection by successfully “growing” a kidney in a lab, the first time this has been done. The kidney was engineered by scientists, and has been transplanted into animals. And it has started to produce urine, a sign of the organ's functionality.
Though scientists have used similar techniques to grow body parts in a laboratory before, the complexity of the kidney has made “growing” that organ more challenging. For this experiment, doctors took a rat kidney and used a detergent to wash away old cells, leaving a complex web of proteins, blood vessels and "drainage pipes" that help filter the blood to remove waste and excess water. To this framework the scientists added cells taken from the animal’s body. The organ was then grown in a special oven to mimic a rat’s body.
The published reports indicate that the engineered kidney may not be as effective as natural ones, but this still stands as a dramatic step in regenerative medicine. Kidneys are among the most in-demand organ for transplant, and the ability to "grow" a new fleet of organs could significantly increase the number available for transplantation.