STATE OF THE ART: Washington University's Marc R. Hammerman turned his wife Nancy's idea into reality when he transplanted developing kidneys into adult rats.
The skilled hands of a surgeon can only do so much to assure the success of an organ transplant. Despite great advances in medicine, the body's immune system remains the ultimate judge of whether to accept or reject. But researchers at Washington University (WU) in St. Louis have found a promising method for growing kidneys that are much less likely to be rejected by the body's immune system. Marc R. Hammerman, the Chromalloy professor of renal diseases at WU, and a team of researchers successfully placed metanephroi, or developing kidneys, in adult rats. When carefully placed in rat membranes and tissues supporting abdominal organs, the kidneys grew to a third of the size of an adult kidney. Hammerman and the group of scientists...

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