The team is now testing the same technique using pig and human kidneys. They are also developing more sophisticated ways of steering the development of the seeded cells, and Ott is hoping that his latest publication will attract interest from other biologists. “We’ll need collaborators, and a lot more brain power chiming in,” he says.
A regenerated kidney that could be implanted in humans “remains very, very far in the future”, says Fissell. “In almost every area in medicine, the leap from rodent to man has been extraordinarily difficult, and that has seemed to be the case with organ scaffolds as well.” However, he says that the team’s work still provides a platform for understanding how kidneys develop and repair themselves. “This may end up being the area in which the paper has the most impact,” Fissell says.