Stem Cell Therapy for Kidney Failure
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) and kidney failure are common conditions, associated with 12% of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. End stage renal disease (ESRD), or kidney failure, accounts for 6% of the Medicare spending in the United States. The major causes of kidney failure are hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
Current treatment options often fail due to the progression of renal disease. The pathology involves tubulointerstitial fibrosis, oxidative damage, glomerular fibrosis, and microvascular rarefaction. The kidneys have intrinsic regenerative capacity, which allows them to recover after minimal injury. The regenerative potential of these organs is limited, however.
How Stem Cells Work
Stem cell transplant and infusions are now being used to treat kidney failure with positive outcomes. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) produce cytokines and growth factors that support hematopoiesis. These cells can transform into renal epithelial cells, functional mesangial cells, and tubular cells. Research shows that each stem cell viability is 95%, and injections work 99% of the time. MSCs have ability to reduce inflammatory response, reduce apoptosis, and increase renal function recovery.
Most chronic kidney disease patients are treated with stem cells and show improvement in the following areas:
- Increased filtration
- Normalizing of creatine and BUN levels
- Balancing of minerals and salts
- Slowed disease progression
- Prolonged cell death cycle
Clinical Research Studies
Stem cells are isolated from bone marrow aspirate or fat tissue (adipose) via liposuction. These cells possess unique immunomodulatory properties that relieve inflammation, and they can facilitate renal tissue repair. Several clinical studies have proved that stem cells are safe and effective for treating renal failure. Some research suggests that stem cells can change into ectodermal and endodermal lineages, and secrete growth factors, cytokines, and chemokines.
In a recent clinical study, researchers found that stem cells possessed a high potential for angiogenesis (vessel re-growth). In addition, investigators noted local tissue turnover and repair of kidney damage after stem cell therapy. The cells were also noted to go to the site of kidney injury. The stem cells are known to release dozens of active biological factors that act on local cell dynamics, reduce inflammation, lessen fibrosis, and recruit resident progenitor cells.
A phase 1 research study involved stem cell infusions given one week after kidney transplant surgery. The researchers found that they decreased graft rejection, and both patients had excellent kidney function at the 1-year follow-up evaluation. The patients also recovered faster from surgery, had less complications, and few adverse effects. Another similar study involving five people with renal failure involved administration of stem cell injections. Six months after transplant, a noted immunomodulatory effect was noted.
Another clinical study showed feasibility and safety of stem cell infusion for the treatment of renal disease. The study involved several cohort patients, as well as a control group. The stem cells were infused through the renal artery. At the 1-year follow-up, researchers noted a beneficial effect and reduced dosage requirement of immunosuppressive drugs. These clinical trials prove effectiveness and safety of stem cell therapy for renal diseases. Notable findings include improved resolution of tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis, as well as decreased risk of infection, positive effects of infusion, and lower incidence of acute rejection.
Stem cell therapy for kidney failure is treated at various R3 Stem Cell Centers of Excellence. The treatments are often effective at helping the kidney function better and preventing the need for dialysis. See if you are a candidate by completing the form HERE!
Peired AJ, Sisti A, & Romagnani P (2016). Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Based Therapy for Kidney Disease: A Review of Clinical Evidence. Stem Cells Int, 4798639.
Perico N, Casiraghi F, Introna M, Gotti E, Todeschini M, Cavinato RA, et al. Autologous mesenchymal stromal cells and kidney transplantation: a pilot study of safety and clinical feasibility. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2011;6:412–422
Reinders ME, de Fijter JW, Roelofs H, Bajema IM, de Vries DK, Schaapherder AF, et al. Autologous bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells for the treatment of allograft rejection after renal transplantation: results of a phase I study. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2013;2:107–111.
Tan J, Wu W, Xu X, Liao L, Zheng F, Messinger S, et al. Induction therapy with autologous mesenchymal stem cells in living-related kidney transplants: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012;307:1169–1177.