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Artificial & Replacement Organs & Tissues Regenerative Medicine Stem Cell Research

MUSC Researchers Test Possibility of Growing Kidneys for Transplant

13 years, 4 months ago

2238  0
Posted on Aug 02, 2006, 9 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Bioengineers from the Medical University of South Carolina and Clemson University believe their research has the potential to save the lives of thousands of patients desperately waiting for a kidney while, at the same time, cutting costs associated with kidney disease.

Bioengineers from the Medical University of South Carolina and Clemson University believe their research has the potential to save the lives of thousands of patients desperately waiting for a kidney while, at the same time, cutting costs associated with kidney disease.

Using principles of "tissue self-assembly" (cells coming together to form actual tissues such as a kidney, heart, lung etc.) and stem cell research, scientists involved with the MUSC Bioengineered Kidney Project are testing the possibility of creating a new kidney from a patient's cells. The progress that already has been achieved with the project has scientists around the world excited about the potential.

"While other researchers are trying to grow kidney tissues slowly, the essence of the technological approach employed in the MUSC Bioengineered Kidney Project is rapid directed tissue self-assembly, which is based on exploration of the tissue fusion phenomenon," said Roger Markwald, Ph.D., Chair of the MUSC Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy.

"Bioengineering of living human kidneys will be especially good news for patients with end-stage kidney disease and also will directly address healthcare disparities as kidney disease occurs more frequently in minority populations in South Carolina," said John Raymond, M.D., Ph.D., MUSC Provost and Vice President for Research. "This project will place MUSC on the national and world landscape as one of the leading institutes in the area of bioengineering and regenerative medicine."

About 60,000 patients in the U.S. are currently waiting to receive a kidney. Sadly, many will likely die before a suitable donor is found. Although modern dialysis is designed to save lives, it is both physically and financially draining on patients and families. The cost of maintaining the life of one patient with end-stage kidney disease is around $250,000. Kidney disease consumes 6 percent of Medicare expenditures.

Vladimir Mironov, Ph.D., Director for MUSC's Bioprinting Research Center, is confident in the feasibility of the ongoing project. He said that although sustainable and sufficient project funding is important, desirable and necessary, absolute conviction and persistence can make the biggest difference.

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