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Renal Division Innovation

Converting Skin Cells to Stem Cells

Renal Division members Ryuji Morizane, Albert Lam, Benjamin Freedman, Seji Kishi, Todd Valerius and Joseph Bonventre have established a highly efficient method for making kidney structures from stem cells derived from skin taken from patients. The kidney structures formed could be used to study abnormalities of kidney development, chronic kidney disease, and the effects of toxic drugs, and could be incorporated into bioengineered devices to treat patients with acute and chronic kidney injury. In the longer term, these methods could hasten progress toward replacing a damaged or diseased kidney with tissue derived from a patient's own cells.

In recognition of this work, co-corresponding author, Ryuji Morizane, won a Discover Brigham Research Excellence Award.

Mini-kidneys created from stem cells used to study diseases of glomerulus and Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

Renal Division researchers Benjamin Freedman, Craig Brooks and Albert Lam, along with a research team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have combined cutting-edge, gene-editing techniques with stem cell science to – for the first time successfully – model genetic kidney disease in lab-grown, mini-kidneys. Bonventre and a team of HSCI/BWH investigators published research involving the creation of human kidney organoids, three-dimensional mini-organs grown in a lab dish, to model human kidney development and to test for drug toxicity. Now, using gene-editing tools, researchers can engineer these mini-kidneys with specific genetic diseases.

More information about research in Glomerular Kidney Disease, lead by Anna Greka, MD, PhD, can be found in Brigham and Women's Hospital Kidney-NExT website, Center for Kidney Disease and Novel Experimental Therapeutics.

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