Preventing Chronic Kidney Disease, One Cell at a Time
As the “bouncers” of blood composition, our kidneys are responsible for making sure crucial nutrients and electrolytes circulate through our body and that waste is filtered out. Unfortunately, when podocytes—the key cells in charge of filtration—deteriorate, renal function is gradually lost, causing chronic kidney disease (CKD).
To understand how to prevent loss of podocytes and the subsequent progression of CKD, researchers from the GOFARR Laboratory for Organ Regenerative Research and Cell Therapeutics in Urology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles are studying:
- The biology of kidney cells using innovative tissue engineering techniques
- A population of renal progenitor cells that can differentiate into mature podocytes in vitro. This will help develop new drugs that can specifically target the malfunctioning podocytes
- Amniotic fluid stem cells in order to understand their beneficial effects on renal morphology and function. In particular, the GOFARR lab is focused on studying how stem cells can modulate different molecular signals that effectively prevent podocyte damage.
Image Caption: The nuclei of podocytes are shown in red, and the nuclei of other renal cells appear in blue.
Image Credit: GOFARR Lab at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles