Resources, Anyone?

In the final edit of my book, I realized just how many resources there are out there for us.  I’ll try to give you a taste of each in the next few blogs.

For example, today I did a plain old ordinary Yahoo search for “CKD” and came up with the following address:

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Winding_back_the_clock_with

_kidney_stem_cells_999.html

I followed  it and ended up at the following article from SpaceDaily.com of all places.  They call themselves “your portal to space” and usually report on the newest developements in the space industry, but here we have our disease.  Be sure to read the last paragraph at least twice.

Winding back the clock with kidney stem cells


In
the short-term, the Monash researcher plans to continue work on the
kidney stem cells to study how environmental factors influence how
kidney cells behave, tests drugs for their ability to reduce kidney cyst
formation and cell proliferation, and better understand how genetic
kidney disorders develop in the first place.

by Staff Writers

Monash, Melbourne (SPX) May 20, 2011

Stem cell research courts both controversy and support in the community- depending on your viewpoint. Now, for the first time, scientists at Monash University’s
Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories (MISCL) have shown that they can
make human stem cells from healthy adult kidneys without working on human embryos, circumventing ethical concerns around this research.

This achievement will allow group leader Associate Professor Sharon Ricardo and her team to model genetic kidney diseases in the laboratory and tease out the mechanisms that control these difficult-to-treat disorders.

“We’re taking human kidney cells and winding back the clock to make their early precursors,” Associate Professor Ricardo said.

For the challenging project, which was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the Monash researchers started with healthy  adult kidney cells, which they reprogrammed back to an embryonic-like state, then compared these kidney stem cells with off-the-shelf embryonic stem cells, and showed that both could form different embryonic tissue types, with their genetic features preserved.

“These kidney cells had their slate wiped clean. Now that gives us the opportunity to change that kidney precursor into all kidney cell types,” Associate Professor Ricardo said.

In collaboration with Professor Peter Kerr from Monash Medical  Centre, the research team has now generated four stem cell lines from  patients with polycystic kidney disease and Alport syndrome, two leading  genetic kidney disorders.

“As these stem cells can divide indefinitely in a culture dish, we can make a limitless source of patient-specific stem cells, make kidney cysts and screen drugs on those cells,” Associate Professor Ricardo said.

“Our ultimate goal is to make off-the-shelf mature kidney cells that patients can use for drug testing and disease modelling.”

Associate Professor Ricardo, who is approaching pharmaceutical companies to screen drugs on the kidney stem cells, believes that this personalised medicine approach will produce safer medicines in the future.

But in the short-term, the Monash researcher plans to continue work on the kidney stem cells to study how environmental factors influence how kidney cells behave, tests drugs for their ability to reduce kidney cyst  formation and cell proliferation, and better understand how genetic
kidney disorders develop in the first place.

Associate Professor Ricardo, who was funded by the Australian Stem Cell Centre and Alport Foundation, Australia, collaborated with six Monash researchers including lead author Bi Song
and Professor Claude Bernard; Professor Peter Kerr, Monash Medical Centre; and Dr Andrew Laslett from CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies, also in Clayton.

As someone who still isn’t sure how she developed CKD, I’m really intereted in the genetic aspect of this research.  And environmental factors in developing the disease?  What a marvelous idea – figure out what we’re doing to our environment that ends up making us ill and stop doing it.  As I see it, medical thinking has changed dramatically in the last few years.  It’s not just treat the symptoms anymore, but find the cause and prevent the disease.  Gives me hope.

Until Tuesday,

Keep living your life.

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Published in: on May 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

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