Stem cells and organ transplants

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Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013 4:39 pm | Updated: 4:42 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

More than 90,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant right now, but one doctor hopes to get that list down to zero.

The numbers can be overwhelming, but what's inside this petri dish could change everything. "It has never been done before," says Roger De Filippo, MD, Saban Research Institute.

Stored inside this lab at the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, Doctor Roger De Filippo, is using stem cells taken from amniotic fluid, which surrounds fetuses in the womb, to heal damaged kidneys. "What we found was the cells were able to regenerate the normal tissue in the kidney and become part of the kidney."

The stem cells can actually help a dying kidney fix itself. "In this flask here you have a number of regenerated kidneys."

The doctor believes the same stem cells could be injected directly into a patient's diseased organ. “…become part of that organ, even regenerate the necessary building blocks of that organ."

It could change the future for people suffering from acute kidney disease, diabetes and genetic disorders. "Slow down the progression of the disease pretty significantly."

Don't confuse embryonic with amniotic. The stem cells used to regenerate kidneys are from fluids collected after childbirth. There is an endless supply of them. This type of cell can not only be used for kidneys, but they can adapt to any other type of organ as well.

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