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Iranian Researchers Produce Stem Cells from Renal Tissue

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Researchers at Tehran University of Medical Sciences have announced that they have successfully produced stem cells carrying special markers of renal tissue, which can be used to analyze pathological fundaments of some diseases and also to develop therapeutic or preventive methods to reduce damages resulting from some acute diseases.

Dr. Abbasi, faculty member of Tehran University of Medical Sciences who has implemented the research project has noted that the project started about two years ago to produce stem cells from renal tissue. He added that the project which constituted a doctorate thesis, was carried out by a group of researchers including Dr. Ayati, head of urology department of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Dr. Emami Razavi and Dr. Khoshzaban, both members of transplant products bank, as well as Zahed and Heidari, a medical student and holder of bachelor’s degree in cellular biology, respectively.

The doctor added that in the first phase of the project, patients with a special type of renal cancer called renal cell carcinoma (RCC), were studied whose kidneys were to be removed through nephrectomy operation. After getting patient’s consent and observing legal and moral formalities, a small part of their papillae was removed. Then stem cells were found in that tissue.

Dr. Abbasi stated that after planting the cells into mice, major characteristics of stem cells, that is, to differentiate into renal tubules, bone and some other tissues were observed.

“In order to reject the theory that stem cells had entered renal tissue from blood, special antigenic markers of those cells were studied and it was proven that they were different from surface markers of stem cells in blood,” he said.

Dr. Abbasi noted that in the next stage, to prove that the cells really belonged to renal tissue, other studies were carried out. Identification of antigenic markers related to adult kidney tissue in those cells proved that they were different from embryonic stem cells. Therefore, it can be stated with certainty that isolated stem cells do not originate from the blood and are capable of generating renal cells.

The doctor continued by saying that in this stage, the isolated cells can only be used to study pathological features of some diseases as a prelude to finding new therapeutic or preventive measures in the future.

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