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Regenerative medicine for the kidney: stem cell prospects & challenges

Yue Li and Rebecca A Wingert*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA

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Clinical and Translational Medicine 2013, 2:11  doi:10.1186/2001-1326-2-11

Published: 21 May 2013


The kidney has key roles in maintaining human health. There is an escalating medical crisis in nephrology as growing numbers of patients suffer from kidney diseases that culminate in organ failure. While dialysis and transplantation provide life-saving treatments, these therapies are rife with limitations and place significant burdens on patients and healthcare systems. It has become imperative to find alternative ways to treat existing kidney conditions and preemptive means to stave off renal dysfunction. The creation of innovative medical approaches that utilize stem cells has received growing research attention. In this review, we discuss the regenerative and maladaptive cellular responses that occur during acute and chronic kidney disease, the emerging evidence about renal stem cells, and some of the issues that lie ahead in bridging the gap between basic stem cell biology and regenerative medicine for the kidney.

Renal stem cell; Renal progenitor; Kidney regeneration; Acute kidney injury; Chronic kidney disease