In a report recently published in Nature, scientists from Australia and the Netherlands said they have successfully cultured human kidney tissue that has a preliminary growth state by using stem cells, making the idea of developing fully functional organ in the laboratory one step further!
The researchers said this tissue is not viable but can be used for other purposes, such as replacing animal model in drug toxicity tests. By the application of iPS, researchers produced the kidney-like structure. At present, for the lack of organ donation, using stem cells to create human organs has long been a major obstacle in scientific research.
Scientists need to induce stem cells so that they can differentiate and assemble as kidney, liver and lung cells. Then these cells can form as a real anatomical structure and finally function in patients. In this very study, the researchers managed to induce pluripotent stem cells to be transformed into two types of adult cells. David, one of the researchers, said: this product is not kidney but a kind of organoid. So there’s still a long way to go for it to be transplanted organ in clinical use.
However, the researchers pointed out that this type of organ might help complete a different medical needs, namely the detection of new drug safety in human body. Stem cells are a kind of primitive cells and after growth and differentiation, they are developed into a variety of special types of cells which will form different organs such as brain, heart, kidneys and so on.
Until a few years ago, when the iPS has been developed, the only way to get stem cells is from human embryos. However, the destruction of human embryos for the obtain of stem cells is controversial in the scientific community. Currently, other research teams have also reported to have cultured organoids like stomach, liver, retina, brain and heart tissue by the use of pluripotent stem cells.