Stem Cell Research Promising for Kidney Disease

For people living with renal disease, there isn't an extensive list of treatment options available, like there are for many other health conditions. Instead, medication and regular dialysis treatments are the norm for most people with renal disease. A kidney transplant is another option, but of the estimated 450,000 people in the United States living with renal disease, less than 20,000 kidney transplants are performed per year.

But if researchers continue making progress on an experimental treatment for renal disease, there may be one more way to help people with renal disease. In the early stages of the project, researchers successfully treated stem cells with a specific set of chemicals applied in a unique order. The process activated genes that first appear during kidney development in a growing fetus. Then they successfully transplanted the kidney cells into mice.

In a follow-up study, researchers used a similar process to create three-dimensional kidney-shaped structures using human stem cells.

The goal associated with both of these research projects on treating renal disease is to find another treatment method to repair or restore kidney function. Preliminary results suggest that it may be possible to regenerate failing kidneys with chemically programmed stem cells that grow healthy kidneys in a developing fetus. The second research project puts scientists one step closer to growing a functioning kidney in a controlled laboratory environment using stem cells from a patient in need of a kidney transplant.

More research is needed to develop these practices. But there's clearly a promising body of research emerging that could improve quality of life and longevity for people living with renal disease.

Until these are viable options for patients living with renal disease, dialysis, medication, and a restricted diet are still the best treatment options. Making changes to your diet when you have renal disease, can be a challenge. But it doesn't have to be. At, we've developed a tasty selection of Renal Diet Meals made from fresh ingredients that contain a limited amount of sodium, potassium, phosphorous, and protein to help you.