Renal disease secrets revealed by mini kidneys grown in lab


Mini-kidney organoids that contain a realistic microanatomy, and are grown from human stem cells. UW Medicine researchers by creating and manipulating these mini kidney organoids, track the early stages of polycystic kidney disease.

Further research has identified that by substituting certain physical components in the organoid environment, cyst formation can be increased or decreased, and this overcomes the scientific obstacle.

Freedman said, "Beforehand, we showed that these organoids could form PKD-like cysts, but what's new here is that we've used the model to understand something fundamental about that disease,"

Cruz is a research scientist, She explained, "Polycystin proteins cause disease and are sensitive to their microenvironment was discovered." She continued, "Therefore if we can change the way they interact or what they are experiencing on the outside of the cell, we might be able to change the course of the disease."

Freedman and his team discuss the study of gene-edited human kidney organoids showed how podocytes (filter blood plasma to form urine) form certain filtration barriers, called slit diaphragms, just as they do in the womb(published in another paper). From this, the team understands how to counter the effects of congenital gene mutations that can cause glomerulosclerosis.

These papers are examples of progress toward developing effective, personalized therapies for polycystic kidney disease and other kidney disorders. Freedman said, "How PKD works should be understood", "Otherwise, there is no hope of curing the disease."