For patients with end-stage renal disease, a kidney transplant is the only hope for regaining quality of life.
Researchers have been working on ways to grow healthy organs outside the human body. One such method, called blastocyst complementation. Researchers take blastocysts from mutant animals missing specific organs and inject them with stem cells from a normal donor, not necessarily of the same species.
The stem cells then differentiate to form the entire missing organ in the resulting animal. The new organ retains the characteristics of the original stem cell donor, and can thus potentially be used in transplantation therapy.
Findings confirm that interspecific blastocyst complementation is a viable method for kidney generation. In the future, this approach could be used to generate human stem cell-derived organs in livestock, potentially extending the lifespan and improving the quality of life of millions of people worldwide.