The mini kidneys, known as kidney organoids, were grown outside the body from skin cells derived from a single patient who has polycystic kidney disease, one of the most common inherited causes of kidney failure in adults.
The researchers reprogrammed these cells to obtain patient-specific pluripotent stem cells, which, under the right conditions, can develop into kidney organoids similar to human fetal kidneys in the first three to six months of development.
Kidney - Organoids - Effects - Drug - Molecules
The kidney organoids were then used to validate the therapeutic effects of two drug molecules with potential for treating genetic polycystic kidney disease, demonstrating that the research could be of significant value in developing personalised treatments for people with this disease.
Existing approaches to testing potential treatments through such 'drug screening' do not take account of the fact that the genetic errors that cause kidney diseases vary from patient to patient.
Stem - Cells - Adult - Patient - Kidney
By generating induced pluripotent stem cells from an adult patient with a genetic kidney disease, and then growing kidney organoids from them, the research team has paved the way for tailoring treatment plans specific to each patient, which could be extended to a range of kidney diseases.
The research, led by NTU Singapore Assistant Professor Xia Yun and her team, which includes NTU Assistant Professor Foo Jia Nee and Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in San Diego, California, was published in Cell Stem Cell in July 2019.
Assistant - Professor - Xia - NTU - Lee
Assistant Professor Xia from the NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), said, "A patient's genetic makeup is closely intertwined with how their kidney disease will develop, as the type of mutation within the disease-causing gene can differ from patient to patient.
"Our kidney organoids, grown from the cells of a patient with inherited polycystic kidney disease, have allowed us to find out which drugs will be most effective...
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