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Renal failure

Active kidneys again

Stem cells extracted from bone marrow helped rats’  kidneys function again.  The rats had a condition similar to human chronic renal disease, which is the progressive loss of the kidneys’ capacity to filter blood, a condition that afflicts approximately 70 thousand people in Brazil.  An experiment coordinated by nephrologist Lúcia Andrade, from the University of São Paulo’s Medical School, involved the application of two treatment strategies to the rodents with 20% of their renal functions – one kidney and two-thirds of the other kidney had been surgically extracted to simulate the problem.  Two weeks after surgery, a group of rats received 2 million stem cells injected into their blood.  Another group received three such injections.  In the fourth month after treatment, the first and second groups had recovered 50% of their blood filtering capacity, according to an on-line article written by the group, together with a group of researchers from the Federal University of São Paulo.  The article was published in the December issue of Stem Cells.  “In human beings, 20% of the renal capacity entails the need for hemodialysis,” explains Lúcia. With 50% renal capacity, it is possible for patients to lead a normal life, provided they have medical follow-up.