November 18, 2017 |
Mass General Continues Tradition of Innovation with New Inroads in Organ Growth
April 29, 2013  | 

Boston, MA - The third oldest hospital in the US and the oldest and largest hospital in New England, Massachusetts General (MGH) has been committed to delivering standard-setting medical care since it was established in 1811. It is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, where nearly all of its staff physicians serve on the faculty. In 2008, it was redesignated a Magnet hospital, the highest honor for nursing excellence awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Then in 2012, Mass General (MGH) was named America's best hospital by U. S. News & World Report based on our quality of care, patient safety and reputation in 16 different specialties. 

This month MGH investigators added to hospital’s tradition of innovation when bioengineered rat kidneys they developed were capable of successfully producing urine both in a laboratory apparatus and after being transplanted into living animals.  The research team describes building functional replacement kidneys on the structure of donor organs from which living cells had been stripped, an approach previously used to create bioartificial hearts, lungs and livers. 

"What is unique about this approach is that the native organ's architecture is preserved, so that the resulting graft can be transplanted just like a donor kidney and connected to the recipient's vascular and urinary systems,"  says Harald Ott, MD, PhD, of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine.  "If this technology can be scaled to human-sized grafts, patients suffering from renal failure who are currently waiting for donor kidneys or who are not transplant candidates could theoretically receive new organs derived from their own cells."  

Around 18,000 kidney transplants are performed in the U.S. each year, but 100,000 Americans with end-stage kidney disease are still waiting for a donor organ.  Even those fortunate enough to receive a transplant face a lifetime of immunosuppressive drugs, which pose many health risks and cannot totally eliminate the incidence of eventual organ rejection. Continue>

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