It is reported that scientists have found that patients' own kidney cells can be reprogrammed and used as a therapy against kidney disease.
Reprogramming patients' kidney cells could mean that in the future, fewer patients with kidney disease would require complicated, expensive procedures that affect their quality of life.
In the first study, Sharon Ricardo, PhD (Monash University, in Clayton, Australia) and her colleagues took cells from an individual's kidney and coaxed them to become progenitor cells, allowing the immature cells to form any type in the kidney.
Specifically, they inserted several key reprogramming genes into the renal cells that made them capable of forming other cells.
In the second study, Miguel Esteban, MD, PhD (Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Guangzhou, China) and his colleagues found that kidney cells collected from a patient's urine could also be reprogrammed in this way.
If researchers can expand the reprogrammed cells-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)-and return them to the patient, these IPSCs may restore the health and vitality of the kidneys.
In addition to providing a potentially curative therapy for patients, the breakthroughs might also help investigators to study the causes of kidney disease and to screen new drugs that could be used to treat them.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN).