Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

In 2017 we celebrated five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

Crafting Kidneys
24 November 2013

Crafting Kidneys

Scientists can now regenerate rat kidneys. Stripping out cells from dead kidneys to leave only a scaffold of connective tissue, they repopulate these frameworks (close up, left) with cells from humans and newborn rats, and nurture the mixtures in bioreactors designed to ape the in-body environment (right). After five days, these concoctions transform into rudimentary kidneys with all the right cells in all the right places. And when they’re transplanted into living rats, the restored organs filter toxins from blood and produce urine, albeit nowhere near as effectively as normal kidneys. The leap from proof of concept to human clinical use is huge, of course. But if the technique can be refined and scaled-up to produce adult human kidneys – perhaps by seeding scaffolds from pig kidneys, which are readily available, with human cells – it could provide life-saving replacements for people with kidney disease.

Written by Daniel Cossins

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More