Organoids Offer Stem Cell Experts a Window into Kidney Disease

  • 7 April, 2014

The Public is Invited to Learn More at “Exploring Organoids: Growing a Kidney in a Dish,”

A Live Public Webcast, Taking Place April 15, 5:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. EDT

CHICAGO — Over the past few decades, the rates of chronic kidney disease have risen due to conditions like diabetes, hypertension, immune-mediated disease and cardiovascular disease. Stem cell researchers are now using organoids, lab-grown models of human organs, to better understand kidney disease. In the future, organoids may also provide an important test model for experimental drugs.

Melissa Little, Ph.D., Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, has been studying renal disease for more than 15 years and is currently using human embryonic stem cells to create tiny buds of tissue that resemble embryonic kidneys. She and her team hope to push the kidney organoids down the developmental pathway to fully functional organs, learning more about normal kidney function and development of disease on the way.

“Organoids are exciting because they allow us to mimic early human kidney development much better than mouse models,” Little said. “They allow us to replicate the types of mutations found in specific patients, which will eventually allow us to develop more personalized treatments. Kidney organoids may become models for testing whether experimental drugs are toxic to the human kidney, a critical step in the drug development process.”

Stem cell researchers have also created brain, thymus, liver, intestine, and eye organoids.

The ISSCR is hosting a free public webcast, entitled “Exploring Organoids: Growing a Kidney in a Dish,” on April 15, from 5:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. EDT. Little will present an overview of current research and its potential and will field questions from participants. The event will be available via the ISSCR Connect Public Channel at, and interested participants are encouraged to register in advance.

7 April, 2014

About the International Society for Stem Cell Research (
The International Society for Stem Cell Research is an independent, nonprofit membership organization established to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application.

Contact: Michelle Quivey, Senior Communications Manager
International Society for Stem Cell Research

Interviews with Little are available upon request