Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

How to Grow a Kidney

PostedAugust 24, 2014

Download File (mp3)

Anchor Lead: Kidney failure is on the rise in the U-S. More than a hundred-thousand people are waiting for transplants. For those who receive one, rejection is a problem. A solution might be…grow your own.

Randy Atkins: Years ago, Chris Batich, a University of Florida engineer, was shown a kidney specimen in which all the cells had been removed, but the collagen shell remained.

Chris Batich: And I thought, “oh my gosh, what a nice home for cells to grow in. If you could put some stem cells in that, you could potentially grow a kidney.”

Randy Atkins: So Batich enlisted some collaborators and created a kidney growing apparatus that delicately nourishes stem cells.

Chris Batich: Lo and behold they went in, they started filling the structure, they started growing, and once they get out into a location they apparently recognize where they’re sitting and they start differentiating into an appropriate cell type.

Randy Atkins: Batich says the seed cells can be made from a patient’s own skin or fat…and a functioning personal kidney might be grown without fear of rejection. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.

Anchor Tag: The kidney-growing process is at least a decade from use in humans.