Kidney cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. The cells were imaged by scanning electron microscopy. (Credit: Image courtesy of Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. Image is published in Kidney International, (2013) DOI: 10.1038/ki.2012.442)

 

Unlimited Source of Human Kidney Cells Created

Feb. 21, 2013 — Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have successfully generated human kidney cells from human embryonic stem cells in vitro. Specifically, they produced the renal cells under artificial conditions in the lab without using animals or organs. This has not been possible until now.

According to IBN Executive Director, Professor Jackie Y. Ying, “This discovery has wide-reaching implications for in vitro toxicology, drug screening, disease models and regenerative medicine. In particular, we are interested in applying our technology to develop predictive in vitro drug testing and renal toxicity models as alternatives to animal testing.”

IBN Team Leader and Principal Research Scientist Dr Daniele Zink elaborated, “The kidney is a major target organ for drug-induced toxic effects. Therefore, it is important for pharmaceutical companies to find out early in the development phase whether their drugs would cause nephrotoxicity in humans. However, animal models are of limited predictability, and there is currently no regulatory accepted in vitro assay based on renal cells to predict nephrotoxic effects. A major problem is the lack of suitable renal cells, which may now be resolved through our discovery.”

Read more: Unlimited source of human kidney cells created — Science Daily.

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