23 June 2010

Treating Kidney Failure Using Genetically Modified Cell Procedure

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A protein whose primary role is in the embryonic development of kidneys may play a future role in treating kidney failure.

Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have successfully treated acute kidney injury in laboratory experiments using cells that were genetically reprogrammed to produce the protein. The research suggests there could be a potential future treatment using such cells delivered intravenously instead of surgically.

Hospital health care professionals must deal with such renal problems - during which the kidneys cannot adequately perform their critical roles of removing bodily waste - in about five percent of all patients, and a much higher percentage of patients in intensive care units.

IU scientists Jesus Dominguez, M.D., and Katherine Kelly, M.D., report in the August issue of the American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology, available online, that they were able to treat acute kidney failure in animal models using cells modified to produce a protein that normally is found when kidneys first develop in embryos. That protein, called SAA, also is produced by the liver in periods of bodily stress, such as during infections, fever or surgery.

In earlier research they had found that applying the SAA protein directly to kidney cells caused those cells to produce tubules like those found in normal kidneys to remove waste products from the blood. Tests determined that the tubules were functional.

The next step was to test whether the protein could have a similar impact in living animals. However, the protein is not easily available, so the researchers modified kidney cells to produce the protein. When the cells were infused into rats with renal failure, their kidney function improved quickly and significantly, the researchers found.

(Medical News Today)

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