British scientists have created human kidneys from stem cells in a breakthrough which could result in transplant patients growing their own organs. The artificial organs were created in a laboratory using human amniotic fluid and animal foetal cells. They are currently half a centimetre in length – the same size as kidneys found in an unborn baby.
The research team hope that doctors will eventually be able to collect amniotic fluid, which surrounds the growing embryo in the womb, when a baby is born.
This will then be stored by scientists in case that person develops kidney disease later in life. The fluid can then be used to create a matching kidney.
Creating an organ using a patient’s own stem cells solves the problem of having to use powerful immunosuppressant drugs to stop the body rejecting a another person’s kidney.
Professor Davies said the technology could be ready for use on humans in around 10 years.
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