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Success of pig kidney studies

A series of successful kidney experiments on pigs could potentially help treat diseases and solve organ donation shortages.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), together with SimuTech Group, the University of Michigan and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, all USA, have developed a ‘bioreactor’ device that can house human kidney cells and directly connect to blood vessels to allow oxygen and nutrients to pass through, similar to a real kidney.

The team implanted the device into a pig for a week, without rejection by the pig’s immune system, with 90% of the kidney cells maintaining their function.

Shuvo Roy at UCSF said: “The bioartificial kidney will make treatment for kidney disease more effective and also much more tolerable and comfortable.”

Meanwhile in China, researchers at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health have successfully used stem cells to form early-stage human kidneys, in pig embryos, to potentially address organ donation shortages – see also The Times and Science.

In related developments, scientists at New York University Langone Health, have managed to implant a pig kidney into a brain-dead man, where the organ functioned normally for more than a month without being rejected by the body – see also this previous EARA story.


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