For patients with end-stage renal disease, a kidney transplant is the hope of regaining their quality of life.
However, many of these people have never undergone this surgery due to a chronic shortage of organ donors in various parts of the world.
In Chile, for example, there are more than 1,700 people on the waiting list and the number of people waiting for a job has grown by 8% in 2018 compared to the previous year. That is why scientific advances that aim to understand how to create organs that are transplantable are very significant to improve the lives of millions of people.
In this line, yesterday, a study conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Physiological Sciences of Japan, which created kidneys of success from stem cells of mice, was released. The paper was published in the journal Nature Communications.
The group of scientists took the blasts (cells that form a developing embryo) from mice they had programmed through genetic editing to be born without the kidneys. They were then injected with stem cells from a normal donor mouse.
In turn, they injected this combination into a recipient mouse, which spawned a pregnancy. Finally, the cells took shape in a fetus with complete and functional kidney.
Thus, the new organs retain the characteristics of the original healthy donor and thus can be transplanted.
Surprisingly, more than two-thirds of the rat babies contain a pair of kidneys derived from mouse stem cells.
"In the future, this approach could be used to generate human stem cell derived from animals, which could improve the quality of life for millions of people around the world," said Masumi Hirabayashi, co-author of the research.
Additional observations showed that all of the kidneys were structurally intact and that at least half could produce urine.
For the nephrologist and head of the dilisis of the German clinic, Enrique Reynols, the result "is a great step".
"It's a very big step because we see that the organ that forms is very similar to that of the kidney of the donor," says Reynolds.
"Whatever the organ is, what you get is good, and although it is still far from being applied to humans, it opens a new path and realizes that it is possible (to create organs)."
However, there are also challenges, according to Alberto Fierro, a nephrologist and researcher at Las Condes Clinic.
As explained, transplantation to human organs that have animal cells has a high probability of rejection.
"This is the beginning of an interesting strategy that still has several barriers to overcome," he says.
For now, adds the doctor, it is necessary to increase the number of transplants between humans.
"That's what's in everyone's hands," he says.