Instead of searching for a kidney donor, a new study suggests, one might be able to grow a new kidney. A team headed by Prof. Yair Reisner of the Weizmann Institute of Science has induced human stem cell tissue to grow into functional kidneys, and have accomplished the same with porcine stem cell tissue. Published in Nature Medicine, the method could lead to a promising solution to the severe shortage of kidney donors.
The findings suggest that human or porcine fetal tissue might take on the shape and function of a healthy kidney if transplanted into humans as well. Pig tissue, as opposed to pig organs, is not expected to cause hyperacute rejection (common in cross-species transplants), as has been demonstrated by recent transplants of insulin-producing cell clusters taken from porcine fetal tissue that did not induce such rejection. The scientists hope that porcine stem cells might thus provide a ubiquitous source for those in need of a kidney. More here.