19 Sep KIDNEY DAMAGE – CAN IT BE REPAIRED?
Research has shown that when kidney disease progresses to the end stage, multi-drug therapy cannot reverse the damage done to the kidneys and the patient will require renal replacement therapy to survive. The kidney is one of the vital organs in the body responsible for the delicate tasks of filtering and excreting excess wastes and fluids from the body. Kidney disease results in a vicious cycle of life-threatening adverse effects.
The use of dialysis as a way of providing renal function in patients with end-stage renal disease has proven to be unsustainable over the years. Most patients will require a kidney transplant which is not exactly as easy as it sounds due to the growing demand for kidney donors which does not correspond to the available donors. There is an obvious need for a sustainable replacement for kidney transplants in the treatment of kidney damage. Is advanced stem cell therapy that replacement?
What is Kidney Failure?
The kidneys regulate water excretion and retention in the body. It also facilitates the excretion of wastes and maintains the optimum concentration of electrolytes. The kidney achieves its functions via a complex system regulated by hormones like renin, brain signals, and delicate structures in the kidney. The kidney also plays a role in the production of red blood cells by producing a hormone known as erythropoietin which stimulates the bone marrow.
A decrease or cessation of kidney function is referred to as kidney failure. The kidney operates a self-healing system that usually overcomes minor or mild injuries. However, in certain conditions, the kidney is unable to recover on its own and may not recover following medical interventions. Kidney diseases may progress to an irreversible stage that requires dialysis to filter the blood and maintain optimum conditions or kidney replacement to replace the damaged kidney.
What Causes Kidney Damage?
Acute kidney injuries may be caused by low blood volume, dehydration, certain medications, sepsis, urine obstruction, and other conditions that can cause acute injury to the kidneys. Chronic kidney conditions develop over months or years due to medical conditions that cause repeated injuries o the kidney with little or no room for recovery.
What Are the Signs of Kidney Failure?
Kidney failure may not produce symptoms in the early stages. As the condition progresses, some of the symptoms may include; reduced urine volume, generalized body swelling, weakness, shortness of breath, anemia, and so on.
How can Stem Cells help Treat Kidney Damage?
Conventional kidney failure treatments aim to provide the functions of the kidney without actually repairing the kidney damage or replacing the kidney with another one via kidney transplant. Stem cells are primitive cells capable of developing into different types of cells under certain conditions. They can self-renew and repair damaged tissues in the body. Stem cells occur naturally in the body and play a role in the healing of acute kidney conditions as well. In cases of end-stage kidney failure, researchers have explored the possibility of maximizing the healing properties of stem cells to repair damaged kidneys and eliminate the need for renal replacement therapy.
The kidneys are complex organs and it is difficult for scientists to isolate the specific cells that have suffered damage when the kidney fails. However, stem cell therapy is a treatment option that works without a need to identify what cells are damaged as stem cells can differentiate into any cell in the body. They can treat kidney damage by reducing inflammation to provide a better chance of healing and by regenerating damaged tissues required for the normal functioning of the kidneys. They are currently already in use as replacements for immunosuppressant drugs during organ transplants because of their anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory effects.
What Types of Stem Cells Can Treat Kidney Damage?
Clinical trials have explored different types of stem cells sourced from different areas in the body in acute and chronic kidney failure treatment. Stem cells that have been studied in clinical trials and research experiments for kidney failure treatments include; Embryonic stem cells, Induced pluripotent stem cells, Mesenchymal stem cells, etc. Some research findings seem to highlight embryonic stem cells as the most encouraging stem cell for kidney failure treatment. However, generally, it is accepted that stem cells of any type can achieve significant restoration of kidney functions and is the most likely replacement for dialysis and kidney transplants in the nearest future. Patients can access stem cell therapy in Los Angeles for kidney failure treatment.