The aim of this project is to design a stem cell-based therapy to prevent end-stage renal disease caused by reflux nephropathy in children. The two main reasons to focus on this condition are that it is the major cause of kidney failure in children and young adults and secondly, the disease typically takes several years to reach end stage, allowing time for therapies to repair damage kidneys before they become completely non-functional. Recent advances in stem cell science and tissue engineering present an unprecedented opportunity to design a stem cell therapy for this clinical problem.
This project will investigate the properties of several different stem cell types (embryonic stem cells, kidney stem cells, amniotic fluid stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells) in order to determine which is most appropriate for the generation of functional kidney tissue. To do this, novel biomaterials will be designed that will provide a substrate both for the generation of kidney progenitor cells and for their transplantation.
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