The Latest Stunning Breakthrough in Bioengineering
It’s the latest development in the fast-growing field of bioengineering – and another example of how technology is helping to solve some of the world’s biggest health problems.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), some 26 million Americans alone are living with kidney disease. And over 90,000 people die from it each year. That’s more than both breast and prostate cancer combined.
It’s a particularly dangerous disease, as symptoms often don’t manifest themselves easily until the condition is advanced. Unless a patient is tested for kidney disease specifically, it can go unnoticed for some time.
Such a high number of sufferers is understandable, given the widespread risk factors in today’s society.
Aside from having a family history of kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are all major contributors. And according to Dr. Leslie Spry, director of the Dialysis Center of Lincoln in Nebraska, having just one of these risks factors raises the chance of getting kidney disease from one in 10 to one in three.
And a Johns Hopkins University study, published last April in The American Journal of Kidney Disease, showed how poor lifestyle choices can increase the risk of developing kidney disease. Of 2,300 participants tracked over 15 years, they were more likely to get it by smoking, eating a lot of red meat and processed meats, consuming sugary drinks and having a diet high in sodium, but low in fruit, vegetables, grains, and nuts.
Indeed, obesity doubles the risk of kidney disease.
Suffice it to say that unless the kidneys can properly discard waste from the body, it’s an extremely serious condition.
But Australian doctors at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience have achieved a major breakthrough towards developing far better treatment…
Lab-Grown Kidney Brings New Hope for Patients
Using human stem cells, the researchers have grown a small kidney in the lab.
At the moment, it’s just a rudimentary kidney, rather than a fully functioning one, but Dr. Jessica Vanslambrouk says it’s nonetheless an “exciting step forward.” Take a look…
The doctors’ excitement is two-fold: Not only does it validate the huge potential of bioengineered organs, she says the fact that it’s “similar to what you see in an embryonic kidney” means it could pave the way for a breakthrough in treatment.
For example, it could be used to test new drugs, or even replace a failing kidney, thus eliminating the need for dialysis or a transplant.
As the university’s Professor Brandon Wainwright says, “Two years ago, we’d never have dreamed this was even possible.”
But it is. And the possibilities from here could be life-changing.
Ahead of the tape,
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