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Mini-kidney organoids re-create disease in lab dishes

Reported by :Irina Robu, PhD

Kidney disease affects about 700 million people worldwide and the costs are tremendous. Dialysis and kidney transplantation are the only options of kidney failure which can cause harmful side effects and poor quality-of-life.

To re-create human disease, Freedman and his colleagues used the gene-editing technique called CRISPR. They engineered mini-kidneys with genetic changes linked to two common kidney diseases, polycystic kidney disease and glomerulonephritis. The mini-kidney organoids are grown using genome editing to recreate human kidney disease in petri dishes. The achievement  is published on Nature Communications, today October 23 and it paves the way for personalized drug discovery for kidney disease.

Pluripotent stem cells are used to grow the mini-kidney organoids. When treated with a chemical cocktail, the stem cell matured into structures that resemble miniature kidneys. The organoids contain  filtering cells, blood vessel cells and tubules and developed characteristics of these diseases. Those with mutations in polycystic kidney disease genes formed balloon like, fluid filled sacks, called cysts, from kidney tubules. The organoids with mutations in podocalyxin, a gene linked to glomerulonephritis, lost connections between filtering cells.

Source

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-10/uowh-mor102215.php
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