Engineering functional human kidneys and urinary tracts

Title Engineering functional human kidneys and urinary tracts
Start date 2021-04-01
End date 2024-03-31
Sponsor Wellcome LEAP Foundation
Institution Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya (IBEC)

Associated cell lines

Project Description

The prevalence of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) is rising but kidney transplantation and long-term dialysis are expensive, not always available and have side-effects. The field of regenerative medicine provides the hope that novel cell-based therapies will supplement excretory renal function to significantly delay or even avoid ESKD. While progress had been made in deriving kidney-like tissues, or ‘organoids’, from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), there are several challenges that must be overcome before they can be used to significantly supplement failing host kidneys. To meet these challenges, our proposed programme of work, called Engineering functional human kidneys and urinary tracts, brings together an international consortium of scientists, academic nephrologists and surgeons who collectively are expert in: kidney and ureter biology in health and disease; blood and lymphatic vessel biology; stem cell technologies; biomaterials, surgical engineering, proteomics and bioinformatics. Our programme of work has four experimental objectives: 1. establish a complete renal tract by generating and integrating ureteric tissue with hPSC-derived kidney tissues; 2. equip hPSC-derived renal tracts with functional blood vessels and lymphatics; 3. enhance growth and maturation of hPSC-derived kidney tissues using biomaterials and reactor systems; and 4. use hPSC-derived renal tracts to significantly enhance excretion in mouse models of progressive renal failure and to identify new therapies. Our aims fit with Goal 2 and several Thrust Areas of the HOPE remit and our successful outcomes will constitute a major stepping-stone towards applying regenerative therapies to patients with failing kidneys.