October 07, 2015

Researchers are continually looking for new ways that stem cells collected by family cord blood services can be utilized to re-create damaged or destroyed cells, which can cure diseases and save lives. This is one of the reasons why parents should save baby cord blood.

Recently, scientists in Australia discovered a method for taking stem cells from human skin into collecting ducts and blood-filtering units known as “nephrons.” These are two of the primary structures found in human kidneys. By using stem cells to form clumps of kidney tissue that are comparable to the kidney structure of a newborn, a critical first step has been taken toward constructing new organs for patients who have suffered kidney failure or damage.

While the kidney’s that have been constructed in a lab are not yet viable for transplanting into patients, they are comparable to the kidney’s of an unborn baby in the first trimester. While a verdict has yet to be reached as to whether or not this kidney tissue will be approved for replacing failed kidneys in human patients, the created kidney tissue is usable now for drug screening. Researchers will also be able to re-create genetic kidney diseases, which will provide insight for future treatment methods.

Until this discovery by Australian scientists, there had been an unsuccessful struggle to get stem cells to form the types of cells in the human kidney, which is why this seemingly small discovery is actually a medical breakthrough that could lead to better understanding of kidney disease and more targeted treatment methods.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/oct/07/stem-cells-from-human-skin-turned-into-kidney-tissue

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