These incredible images have revealed insights into how the kidney develops from a tiny cluster of cells into a complex organ.
The time-lapse pictures of growing mouse kidneys are helping scientists to understand the early stages of development in mammals.
They identified a key molecule called beta-catenin that instructs cells to form specialised structures within the kidney. These structures – called nephrons –are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood to generate urine.
If nephrons don’t work properly, it can cause a wide range of health problems — from abnormal water and salt loss, to dangerously high blood pressure. The findings will help scientists to grow nephrons in the lab that can be used to study how kidneys function.
Using the time-lapse technique also means that the same mice can be studied over time, at different developmental stages. This significantly reduces the number of animals needed
for this type of research.
The research was funded by the
National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in
This is me back in 2011. I was on dialysis. Dialysis is a process where a machine acts as an artificial kidney in order to attempt to work for your non-functioning organs. Dialysis is capable of doing 12% of what a normal functioning pair of kidneys can do. This treatment took four hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I had to fight my medical staff for time changes because I got out of school earlier and wanted to be off the machine earlier. All throughout this three year battle, I’d face migraines, cramps, depression, anxiety, insomnia, criticism, suicidal thoughts, and general weakness and inefficiencies. I remember looking to my right and to my left to see people of all backgrounds going through this process. Every day was a new battle, and whether it was a day of silver linings or a full on waged war with our affliction. There were white boys and girls, black boys and girls, people of all creeds, ages and backgrounds going through the exact same thing. And it was torture. I can’t even begin to delve into the immense conflicts I had with doctors and their seemingly oppressive standards on who gets transplants.
The national donor registry (UNOS) states there are about 123,294 people on the waiting list for an organ. Of those, 78,213 are considered active and ready for a transplant right this very minute. Unfortunately, there have only been 2,577 transplants since January 2013. That seems like a lot, but it’s really not considering that the amount of recipients is flatlined in the six figure mark.
(Content Warning: Grapic)
This was me on the day of June 9th, 2013. Since then, I’ve made it 22 months with a functioning kidney, and I hope to keep it for the general life of 15-20 years to tide me over into the next generation of organ repair. But until then, it is up to YOU to help people live the life they deserve.
Here’s me today. 18 years old. Living life without dialysis. About to graduate high school. Working a part-time job,
But my fight’s not over. I still face the potential to need another transplant in the future. I’m still on life saving medications that have strict times when I need to take them (every 12 hours). I still need constant blood tests, checkups, and more. What’s even funnier, Medicare will consider me “healthy” in about, oh, six months. I’ll be out of insurance. Being sick is a huge liability in this country, and those of us who aren’t affluent take the brute force of that liability.
My economic stance can’t be change too efficiency, but there’s one thing that can be changed: My ability to keep living if I ever come to that point, as well as thousands and thousands of other people.
What do I have to do to help?
If you haven’t already, next time you go to the DMV, don’t just brush off the receptionist with the usual apathy. Listen to them and wait for the question “Would you like to be an organ donor?” When they ask this, say YES. This confirms that you will save up to eight people needing organs, and hundreds of others needing bone marrow and tissue.
“If I become an organ donor, the doctor won’t try to save my life and will let me die so he/she can sign off my organs!”
WRONG! Doctors have a dedication to keeping YOU alive. It is only once you are confirmed TOD that they will consult an Organ Donation Specialist, who will discuss with your family the idea of donation.
“Don’t they just do that anyway?”
KINDA. Your family will have a chance to decide if they would like to allow your body to be harvested for donation. However, one problem with this is family’s become emotional in times of loss, and are thus subject to refusing on the basis of “bodily autonomy” which…is a fair judgement, but you’re already gone and can’t use your organs.
A team of researchers in the United Kingdom has found a way to redesign an artificial connection between an artery and vein, known as
an Arterio-Venous Fistulae, which surgeons form in the arms of people
with end-stage renal disease so that those patients can receive routine
dialysis, filtering their blood and keeping them alive after their
The new design, described in the journal Physics of Fluids,
from AIP Publishing, may decrease the likelihood of blockages in
Arterio-Venous Fistulae, which is a major complication of dialysis.
“At the moment, the process of creating an Arterio-Venous Fistulae for dialysis is rather ‘one-size-fits-all’,” said Peter Vincent, a senior
lecturer and EPSRC early career fellow in the Department of Aeronautics
at Imperial College London. “Our ultimate aim is to use computational
simulation tools to design tailored, patient-specific Arterio-Venous
Fistulae configurations that won’t block and fail."
Caption:Streamlines of flow within an idealized
Arterio-Venous Fistulae are shown. The color of the lines corresponds to
the speed of the blood–red being highest, and blue lowest. Credit:Peter Vincent/Imperial College London
If kidney cancer is diagnosed early—before it spreads—80 percent of patients survive. However, finding it early has been among the disease’s
Now, researchers have developed a noninvasive method to screen for
kidney cancer that involves measuring the presence of proteins in the
The researchers found that the protein biomarkers were more than 95
percent accurate in identifying early-stage kidney cancers. In addition,
there were no false positives caused by non-cancerous kidney disease.
“These biomarkers are very sensitive and specific to kidney cancer,”
says senior author Evan D. Kharasch of Washington University School of
A couple of years ago my wife (on the right) was told she was going to have to undergo a kidney transplant. After a long round of donor testing, my sister (on the left) discovered that she was an almost perfect match.
Two months ago the operation happened, and now the two of them are healed up and smiling. The transplant when as well as anyone could hope for, with no real complications, and she’s well on the way to recovery.
While they were in hospital I put together goody-bags for the pair of them to cheer them up. As part of these I contacted one of my sister’s favourite webcomic artists, @electricbunnycomics and asked her to draw two personalised images based on a comic she had done. I would then put these on T-shirts for the pair of them.
This weekend was the first time the two of them have been together since the operation, and so here at last are the two of them in their paired shirts.
Thanks so much for creating these for us Dingo. They look great.