Singapore, Feb 27 (IANS) Scientists in Singapore have successfully produced kidney cells under laboratory conditions, without using animals or cells from other organs.
Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have successfully generated human kidney cells from human embryonic stem cells in vitro; the renal cells were produced under artificial conditions in the lab without using animals or organs, something that was not been possible until now.
IBN Executive Director Jackie Y. Ying said: "This discovery has wide-reaching implications for in vitro toxicology, drug screening, disease models and regenerative medicine. In particular, we are interested in applying our technology to develop predictive in vitro drug testing and renal toxicity models as alternatives to animal testing."
The scientists said that the kidney is a major target organ for drug-induced toxic effects. Therefore, it is important for pharmaceutical companies to find out early in the development phase whether their drugs would cause nephrotoxicity in humans.
However, animal models are of limited predictability, and there is currently no regulatory accepted in vitro assay based on renal cells to predict nephrotoxic effects, reports Science Daily.
"A major problem is the lack of suitable renal cells, which may now be resolved through our discovery," said researcher Daniele Zink.