Add kidneys to the list of what we may be recycling
Outliers knows hospitals are working hard to become “green.” But now comes a suggestion that pushes a few limits: Researchers have proposed expanding the scope of recycling to include discarded human kidneys, saying they may serve a role in building replacement organs.
Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston- Salem, N.C., wrote in the journal Biomaterials that almost 20% of kidneys can’t be used for transplant. The researchers instead propose that those kidneys be cleaned by pumping a mild detergent through them and then using a process called decellularization to remove all cells but the organ structure. Then a patient’s own cells could be added to the “scaffold” of the organ structure, creating an organ that theoretically would be easier for the patient’s body to accept.
“These discarded organs may represent an ideal platform for investigations aimed at manufacturing kidneys for transplant,” Dr. Giuseppe Orlando, the study’s lead author and a transplant surgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said in a news release.
Under the procedure, a patient’s own cells would be added to a kidney “scaffold” to create one more likely for the body to accept.