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Engineering mini kidneys to understand development and disease – Kidney Research UK

The problem

The kidney is an extremely complex organ with many different types of cells working together, making it difficult to study in the lab. Organoids are miniature versions of organs, such as kidneys, that can be grown in laboratories allowing researchers to study how different organs work, what goes wrong during disease and developmental problems, and to test potential new treatments.

Some children are born with kidney disease. It would be extremely useful to be able to grow organoids from cells from babies known to be at risk of kidney disease to study the disease before the baby is born, test potential therapies and possibly even intervene to prevent kidney damage, but there is currently no non-invasive way to do this.