Posts Tagged ‘kidney’


A brand new rat kidney being built on the scaffold of an old one <i>(Image: Ott Lab, Center for Regenerative Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital)</i>

A brand new rat kidney being built on the scaffold of an old one

(Image: Ott Lab, Center for Regenerative Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital)

Kidney breakthrough: complete lab-grown organ works in rats


  • 18:00 14 April 2013 by Andy Coghlan


For the first time, complete lab-grown kidneys have been successfully transplanted into rats, filtering and discharging urine as a normal kidney would.


The breakthrough paves the way for human-scale versions, which could potentially provide an inexhaustible supply of organs, eliminating the need for recipients to wait for a matching donor kidney Movie Camera.


Similar techniques have already been applied successfully in people with simpler tissue, such as windpipes. But the kidney is by far the most complex organ successfully recreated.


“If this technology can be scaled to human-size grafts, patients suffering from renal failure, who are currently waiting for donor kidneys, could theoretically receive an organ grown on demand,” says Harald Ott, head of the team that developed the rat kidneys at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.


“In an ideal world, such grafts could be produced from patient-derived cells, enabling us to overcome both donor organ shortages and the need for long-term immunosuppression drugs,” says Ott. Currently in the US alone, 18,000 transplants are carried out each year, but 100,000 Americans remain on waiting lists.


Strip and coat


To make the rat kidneys, Ott and his colleagues took kidneys from healthy “donor” rats and used a chemical solution to wash away the native cells, leaving behind the organ’s scaffold. Because this is made of collagen, a biologically inert material, there is no issue of the recipient’s body rejecting it.


Next, the team set about regrowing the “flesh” of the organ by coating the inner surfaces of the scaffold with new cells. In the case of humans, these would likely come from the recipient, so all the flesh would be their own.


The kidney was too complex to use the approach applied to the windpipe – in which its scaffold was coated by simply immersing it in a bath of the recipient’s cells.


Instead, the team placed the kidney scaffolds in glass chambers containing oxygen and nutrients, and attached tubes to the protruding ends of the renal artery, vein and ureter – through which urine normally exits the kidney. They recoated the insides of the blood vessels by flowing human stem cells through the tubes attached to the artery and vein. Through the ureter, they fed kidney cells from newborn rats, re-coating the labyrinthine tubules and ducts that make up the kidney’s urine filtration system.


It took many attempts to establish the precise pressures at which to feed the cells into the organ, as if it was growing in an embryonic rat. Remarkably, given the complexity of the kidney, the cells differentiated into exactly those required in the different compartments of the organ. “We found the correct cell types homed in to specific regions in the organ matrix,” says Ott.


The kidneys, which took about a fortnight to fully recoat, worked both in the lab and when transplanted into rats. They filtered out and discharged urine, although they did not sieve it as well as a natural kidney would. Ott is confident that the function can be improved by refining the technique.


Humans and pigs


The team is now attempting the same procedure using human kidneys, and also pig kidneys, which could be used to make scaffolds if there were a scarcity of human donors. The team has already successfully repopulated pig kidneys with human cells, but Ott says further studies are vital to guarantee that the pig components of the organ do not cause rejection when transplanted into humans.


The fact that heart valves and other “inert” tissues from pigs are already successfully used in humans without rejection suggests that this will not be a big problem.


Other researchers working in the field hailed the team’s success at recreating such a complex organ. “The researchers have taken a technique that most in the field thought would be impossible for complex organs such as the kidney, and have painstakingly developed a method to make it work,” says Jamie Davies at the University of Edinburgh, UK, who was part of a team that last year made some headway in their attempts to grow kidneys from scratch in the lab. “By showing that recellularisation is feasible even for complicated organs, their work will stimulate similar approaches to the engineering of other body systems.”


Journal reference: Nature Medicine, DOI: 10.1038/nm.3154

‘Brimming with energy’ after $20K stem cell treatment


A great example of the benefits of adult stem cells.  Treatments are now in the $8-10,000 range with even more advanced treatment techniques. – David

‘Brimming with energy’ after $20K stem cell treatment

Jennifer Vasilakos got the shocking surprise of her life after helping a man who stopped to ask her for directions. That man happened to be the billionaire founder of the Beanie Baby company and what he did may have saved her life. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

By Kristen Dahlgren and Erica Ayisi, NBC News



What started out as a modest fundraising event held in a Santa Barbara, Calif., parking lot has turned into a life-changing moment for Jennifer Vasilakos, thanks to a chance meeting with Beanie Baby billionaire Ty Warner.

It all began in a parking lot in July of last year. Vasilakos, 42, set up a table near her hometown’s annual Santa Barbara French Festival to raise money for stem cell treatment, displaying signs and flyers that explained her cause. She also brought a small moneybox to stash cash made from parking cars for festival-goers.

Equipped with sunglasses, a water bottle and coffee, Vasilakos was prepared to spend the day raising awareness and telling people her personal story – that she was diagnosed with acute renal failure in 2011 and had received dialysis three times a day, three times a week. It was a grueling regimen that she would endure the rest of her life. A kidney transplant wasn’t an option; she had been rejected as a candidate because of a previous bout with cancer.

Vasilakos, a Reiki teacher and herbalist, decided her only option was to save up for stem cell treatment – a costly procedure that is not performed in the United States.

But as the day wore on, her moneybox largely remained empty. The festival, she said, “was completely dead.”

That’s when a lost driver in a “small little car” drove up, looking for directions. Jennifer chatted him up.

Ty Warner, Beanie Baby creator and chief executive of Ty Inc., arrives at the Toy Fair to sign

“The man rolls down the window, has a piece of paper in his hand and he’s looking for a local business,” she recalled. “I provide him instructions and because I am fundraising that day to get my stem cell treatment, I hand him my flyer.”

The man gave her $50.

About an hour later, the driver returned, looked her in the eye and asked if she was the woman in the flyer raising money for stem cell treatment. She confirmed that she was.

Courtesy of Jennifer Vasilakos

Jennifer Vasilakos received this note from Ty Warner, accompanied by a check for $20,000. It reads: “Dear Jennifer, Someone up there loves you because I was guided to meet you on Saturday. I never lose my way, but fate had me lost and ask you for direction. The rest of the story I hope will be a wonderful new life for you. God bless you Jennifer. Ty.”

The man replied, “I’m Ty Warner, and I’d like to help you with this and take care of it for you.”

Yes, that Ty Warner – of Ty Inc., the billionaire brain behind the Beanie Babies collectibles craze. Vasilakos said she recognized his name but had no idea he would ultimately make a huge donation.

“I was hoping to raise a few hundred dollars that day by the generosity of my community for the stem cell treatment that I needed to get,” she said. “I had no idea I would meet Ty Warner that day.”

On her blog, Vasilakos wrote: “I listened as he repeated over and over that he was going to help me. That my fundraising was done. That I didn’t need to worry any longer. He said he would send a check after he returned to his offices during the week.”

Several days after they met, Vasilakos received a $20,000 check from Warner along with a handwritten note. She said she hopes it “was a little birdy in his ear that said, ‘You should help this woman.’”

Vasilakos had the stem cell treatment last year…

Warner, according to a prepared statement, was enlightened by their chance encounter.

“After I serendipitously met Jennifer, I further educated myself on her stem cell needs. I was shocked that this particular type of treatment wasn’t available to her in the U.S.,” Warner said. “My hope is that we can bring this lifesaving treatment to the forefront so that it can become more readily available and provide alternatives for people like Jennifer.”

Vasilakos underwent the treatment in September 2012 and now, after months of recovery, she says she feels great.

“The day the length of my dialysis treatment was reduced to two and half hours per treatment was an exciting day. I regained three hours of freedom per month! My blood pressure has dropped down to normal with lower and lower levels of medication,” she wrote recently on her blog. “The biggest change is how amazing I feel, and I am brimming with energy. My immune system has become resilient, and I can feel the difference in my body.”

via ‘Brimming with energy’ after $20K stem cell treatment – The Daily Nightly.



New Transplant Method May Allow Kidney Recipients to Live Drug Free » Blog Archive » Critical Mass

In ALL ARTICLES on March 28, 2012 at 7:10 pm
New Transplant Method May Allow Kidney Recipients to Live Drug Free

New ongoing research published March 7 in the journal Science Translational Medicine suggests organ transplant recipients may not require anti-rejection medication in the future thanks to the power of stem cells, which may prove to be able to be manipulated in mismatched kidney donor and recipient pairs to allow for successful transplantation without immunosuppressive drugs.

Northwestern Medicine® and University of Louisville researchers are partnering on a clinical trial to study the use of donor stem cell infusions that have been specially engineered to “trick” the recipients’ immune system into thinking the donated organ is part of the patient’s natural self, thus gradually eliminating or reducing the need for anti-rejection medication.

“The preliminary results from this ongoing study are exciting and may have a major impact on organ transplantation in the future,” said Joseph Leventhal, MD, PhD, transplant surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and associate professor of surgery and director of kidney and pancreas transplantation at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “With refinement, this approach may prove to be applicable to the majority of patients receiving the full spectrum of solid organ transplants.”

Leventhal authored the study along with Suzanne Ildstad, MD, director of the Institute of Cellular Therapeutics at the University of Louisville. It is the first study of its kind where the donor and recipient do not have to be related and do not have to be immunologically matched. Previous studies involving stem cell transplants for organ recipients have included donors and recipients who are siblings and are immunologically identical, something that only occurs in about 25 percent of sibling pairs.

“Being a transplant recipient is not easy. In order to prevent rejection, current transplant recipients must take multiple pills a day for the rest of their lives. These immunosuppressive medications come with serious side effects with prolonged use including high blood pressure, diabetes, infection, heart disease and cancer, as well as direct damaging effects to the organ transplant,” said Ildstad. “This new approach would potentially offer a better quality of life and fewer health risks for transplant recipients.”

In a standard kidney transplant, the donor agrees to donate their kidney. In the approach being studied, the individual is asked to donate part of their immune system as well. The process begins about one month before the kidney transplant, when bone marrow stem cells are collected from the blood of the kidney donor using a process called apheresis. The donor cells are then sent to the University of Louisville to be processed, where researchers enrich for “facilitating cells” believed to help transplants succeed. During the same time period, the recipient undergoes pre-transplant “conditioning,” which includes radiation and chemotherapy to suppress the bone marrow so the donor’s stem cells have more space to grow in the recipient’s body.

Once the facilitating cell-enriched stem cell product has been prepared, it is transported back to Northwestern, where the recipient undergoes a kidney transplant. The donor stem cells are then transplanted one day later and prompt stem cells to form in the marrow from which other specialized blood cells, like immune cells, develop. The goal is to create an environment where two bone marrow systems exist and function in one person. Following transplantation, the recipient takes anti-rejection drugs which are decreased over time with the goal to stop a year after the transplant.

New Transplant Method May Allow Kidney Recipients to Live Drug Free » Blog Archive » Critical Mass.

Roche’s diet drug tied to kidney damage | Reuters

In OFF THE BEATEN PATH on April 13, 2011 at 10:39 am

More bad news about drugs. – dg


“In another blow to diet drugs, Canadian researchers are reporting a link between Roche’s Xenical and an increase in kidney injuries. Tapping into healthcare databases from the province of Ontario, they found that 0.5 percent of new orlistat users were hospitalized for kidney problems in the year before starting on the drug. Over the next year, that number jumped to 2 percent.”

Roche did not return calls for comments in time for this article.”

Dr. Donald E. Greydanus, a pediatrician at Michigan State University, who was not involved in the study but has written on obesity treatments [said:] “There is no safe panacea drug that works and that has no side effects,” he told Reuters Health in an email.

While 2% seems low to you and me, consider that this is kidney damage from a diet drug AND a 400% increase over typical incidents.


Roche’s diet drug tied to kidney damage | Reuters.



In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on August 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Gift launches fund for feline stem cell research, treatment

August 3, 2010

Colorado State University has announced the launch of a new fund devoted to feline stem cell research. Frankie’s Fund will fund research into how feline stem cells may be used to treat injuries and diseases in cats.

Generous gift from Frankie’s owner

Frankie’s Fund was initiated in July through the generous gift of a client whose 9-year-old Siamese cat, Frankie, became ill with acute kidney failure as a result of medication she received for an inflammatory mouth condition. Frankie participated in a CSU stem cell therapy clinical trial for cats with kidney failure in 2009.

“The establishment of Frankie’s Fund allows Colorado State University to continue to pursue stem cell therapy research and treatments for cats – something that is not widely available for cats. While such veterinary studies and treatments are available for dogs and horses at veterinary hospitals and clinics, including CSU’s equine stem cell programs, feline-focused programs are much rarer,” said Dr. Jessica Quimby, Frankie’s veterinarian at CSU.

“This fund allows us to develop our program and research to gain a better understanding of the biology of stem cells, how they function and what treatments they may offer for various feline diseases.”

Fund future clinical trials

Frankie’s Fund will support research and future clinical trials for stem cell therapy targeting acute and chronic kidney failure, inflammatory bowel disease and possibly asthma.

The fund is initially supporting a new study using stem cells to help cats with chronic kidney disease. The CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital is looking for cats who have a stable disease status to participate. Cats in the study will receive injections of stem cells derived from the fat of healthy cats over several months. The study is open to cats from across the United States through coordination with local vets. Cats with some conditions, such as heart disease, kidney infections, kidney stones, inflammatory bowel disease or other complications cannot participate.

Chronic kidney disease is a common, progressive disease in older cats and there is no definitive treatment other than a kidney transplant. Recent laboratory studies have shown that stem cell therapy has the potential to improve kidney function and prevent scarring that forms in the kidneys as a result of the disease. The current study will explore repeated intravenous stem cell injections for kidney failure in cats.

Frankie died shortly before her 13th birthday

Frankie lived in Boulder until her recent death from cancer shortly before her 13th birthday. In December of 2009, Frankie was diagnosed with cancer and began a chemotherapy protocol developed by CSU. A kidney blockage precipitated total renal failure and she passed shortly before her 13th birthday. She was given home care for damage to her kidneys for several years before enrolling in the CSU program.

“Having lived in Boulder for decades I was well aware of the national reputation of Colorado State’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital,” said Deborah Felin Magaldi, Frankie’s owner. Magaldi is involved with several cat rescues and shelters and initiated the fund to help advance stem cell research for felines as well as humans. “Frankie was my best friend. She just happened to be a cat. Generously, she never held it against me that I was not.”

via Today @ Colorado State University – Gift launches fund for feline stem cell research, treatment.

FDA Warns about Increased Risk of Muscle Injury with Zocor

In OFF THE BEATEN PATH on March 24, 2010 at 8:14 pm


For Immediate Release: March 19, 2010

Media Inquiries: Elaine Gansz Bobo, 301-796-7567; elaine.bobo@fda.hhs.gov

Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA Warns about Increased Risk of Muscle Injury with Zocor

Highest approved dose of cholesterol-lowering medication could cause harm to muscles

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today warned patients and healthcare providers about the potential for increased risk of muscle injury from the cholesterol-lowering medication Zocor (simvastatin) 80 mg. Although muscle injury (called myopathy) is a known side effect with all statins, today’s warning highlights the greater risk of developing muscle injury, including rhabdomyolysis, for patients when they are prescribed and use higher doses of this drug. Rhabdomyolysis is the most serious form of myopathy and can lead to severe kidney damage, kidney failure, and sometimes death.

“Review of simvastatin is part of an ongoing FDA effort to evaluate the risk of statin-associated muscle injury and to provide that information to the public as it becomes available,” said Eric Colman, M.D., Deputy Director of FDA’s Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products (DMEP). “It’s important for patients and healthcare professionals to consider all the potential risks and known benefits of any drug before deciding on any one therapy or dose of therapy.”

Simvastatin is sold as a single-ingredient generic medication and as the brand-name Zocor. It also is sold in combination with ezetimibe as Vytorin, and in combination with niacin as Simcor.

FDA’s review of new information on the risk of muscle injury is derived from clinical trials, observational studies, adverse event reports, and prescription use data. The agency also is reviewing data from the SEARCH (Study of the Effectiveness of Additional Reductions in Cholesterol and Homocysteine) trial, which evaluated major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, revascularization and cardiovascular death, in patients taking 80 mg compared to 20 mg of simvastatin. SEARCH also included data on muscle injury in patients taking simvastatin…

via FDA Warns about Increased Risk of Muscle Injury with Zocor.

CATCH UP! – FAT IS GOOD! (where stem cells are concerned)



If you have the money and the interest, you can get your fat lipo’d out of your butt and injected into your face for a younger, smoother look.  And now, your fat can save your life!  A person’s own fat (adipose tissue) has been proved over many years to be a great source for stem cells.  Now Cytori has caught on.  Unfortunately, these are only pre-clinical trial trial results and the typical clinical trial lasts 7-10 years and costs $250-500 million, so…don’t hold your breath for treatments in the US anytime soon. – DG

Study Finds Adipose (Fat) Derived Stem, Regenerative Cells Significantly Reduce Mortality, Kidney Damage

February 25, 2009 9:23 AM EST

Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYTX) finds adipose tissue-derived stem and regenerative cells significantly reduce mortality and improve renal function in an acute kidney injury model. The preclinical results were reported today at the 14th Annual International Conference on Continuous Renal Replacement Therapies.

Acute kidney injury is a tremendous medical and financial burden to the healthcare system due to high mortality rates and the lack of effective therapies beyond supportive treatments. However, these new study findings by Cytori may lead to new therapeutic treatments using ADRCs that could reduce morbidity and mortality associated with acute kidney injury. Although this study was performed using a manual extraction technique, this potential application could be made more efficient and cost effective with the use of Cytori’s Celution(R) System to isolate clinical grade ADRCs in real time.

As part of the study design, acute kidney injury was induced in 29 preclinical research subjects by occluding blood flow into and out of both kidneys for 38 minutes. Twenty minutes after reperfusion of the kidneys, ADRCs or saline only were injected intra-arterially. All subjects were assessed daily for 7 days for markers of kidney function (serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen) and survival.

After seven days, 100% of ADRC-treated preclinical subjects survived compared to only 57% in the control group (p<0.01). The ADRC-treated subjects also showed statistically significant improvements in kidney function, as measured by serum creatinine (p<0.0001) and blood urea nitrogen levels (p<0.0001). In addition, substantial improvement in the histologic structure within the kidney was observed, as measured by a reduction in tubular cell death and epithelial shedding (p<0.0001). This study suggests that ADRCs significantly accelerate renal repair and preserve renal function, offering a potential therapeutic approach in renal reparative medicine.

Kidney disease represents an annual cost of greater than $32 billion. More than 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with acute kidney injury annually, facing prolonged hospitalization, marked increases in morbidity as well as mortality.

via StreetInsider.com – Cytori Therapeutics’ (CYTX) Study Finds Adipose Derived Stem, Regenerative Cells Significantly Reduce Mortality, Kidney Damage.

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