NephMadness 2014 Part 3 – Kidney Regeneration Bracket

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The kidney regeneration bracket is full of heavy weights as usual! However, not being in the field myself one team jumped out for me, Bioartificial Kidney. As the authors of this piece say this is truly the holy grail of nephrology. This field was taken out of the realm of captain Kirk and Dr Spock in 2013 with the publication of reports of a paper in Nature Medicine. In this experiment the authors decellularized a rat kidney a reperfused it with epithelial and endothelial cells. Remarkably this kidney made urine in vitro. The stem cell field was again put under the spot light this year after a publication in Nature by Obokata et al. They reported the discovery of an unexpected phenomenon of somatic cell reprogramming into pluripotent cells by exposure to sublethal stimuli, which they called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP). This method basically takes somatic cells puts them in mild acid and they come out as pluripotent step cells! Yes, it sounds unbelievable and it is turning out that way to. Other groups have not been able to reproduce these results using this ‘simple’ technique. Furthermore, the authors have recently submitted an erratum reporting that some images in their manuscript were mistakenly included! Emmm!

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