There are thousands of people who are suffering from one or the other kidney problem/disease. Many of them rely on treatments and dialysis to make their kidneys work properly. While this is okay, did you know that stem cell therapy can also aid kidney issues? To understand how cell-based therapy can help one deal with kidney problems, refer to this article and share with people who you think might be needing this information.
According to Dr. Pradeep Mahajan, Regenerative Medicine Researcher, Navi Mumbai, “kidney disease is not unheard of these days, especially in people with diabetes and heart disease. These two conditions account for 40-60% of the chronic kidney disease patients in our country. A study reported that > 100,000 new patients enter renal replacement programs annually in India. This is alarming and the numbers are increasing steadily, even among youngsters. It is also important to understand that kidney transplantation is the most commonly performed organ transplant; nonetheless, there is a huge gap between demand and supply (lack of adequate donors).”
Different kidney problems
Apart from chronic kidney disease, there are other forms of kidney dysfunction that can be caused by bacterial and viral infections, tumors, autoimmune conditions (where the body attacks its own cells considering them foreign), etc. Thus, it is high time that we focus on newer strategies to save the kidneys.
Stem cell therapy for kidneys
The two kidneys in our body mainly function to remove waste material and toxins as well as excess water from the blood. They are also involved in the conversion of vitamin D to its active form. Although an individual can function with one kidney, it increases the risk of progressing to failure in later life.
Also Read: Obesity and Diabetes Together Increases Risk of Kidney Diseases
Currently, transplantation, dialysis, and medications to reduce associated symptoms are the only treatment options. The need of the hour is a safe and effective treatment that can control not only the symptoms but also improve the functioning of the organ to delay or even prevent transplantation.
This is where Regenerative Medicine comes in.
Benefits of Stem cell therapy for kidney disease
- Stem cell therapy for kidneys is a promising approach to treat both structural and functional issues in the kidneys.
- Stem cells in our body can self-renew and transform into different types of cells depending on the environment they are in.
- They also regulate the immune environment and enhance the functioning of other cells.
- For example, in kidney disease, stem cells can replace the damaged nephrons (functional units of kidneys) and even reduce the inflammation caused due to accumulation of dead cells and toxins.
- This creates a healthier environment in the kidneys for the remaining cells and growth factors to work on.
- In fact, stem cell secretomes (set of proteins expressed by the cells) have shown microenvironment-specific activities, which can be beneficial for target-specific outcomes
The efficacy of stem cell therapy in various kidney diseases has been studied extensively. In end-stage renal disease, stem cells have been shown to delay the progression and ultimate failure of the organ. Interestingly, through their immune-modulatory ability, stem cells play a role in preventing organ rejection following transplantation as well. The best part is that stem cells act simultaneously on different organ systems, as per requirement. Thus, the cause of kidney dysfunction is also simultaneously addressed. Awareness is important regarding Regenerative Medicine therapies. As the name suggests, this treatment aims to ‘regenerate’ and ‘regrow,’ which will help in achieving long-term results, as opposed to symptomatic management alone. Kidney disease is becoming a burden, but cell-based therapy can help keep the organ function steady.
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