Artificial kidney cells could improve drug toxicity assays

by Nurses on Duty

Testing for renal toxicity can prevent patients from enduring drug-related side effects on the kidneys, but such assays require a supply of appropriately responsive kidney cells.

Now, researchers have developed artificially produced human kidney cells that could make such assays possible.

“The kidney is a major target organ for drug-induced toxic effects,” said lead researcher Dr. Daniele Zink, of Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. “There is currently no regulatory accepted in vitro assay based on renal cells to predict nephrotoxic effects. A major problem is the lack of suitable renal cells, which may now be resolved through our discovery.”

So far, the only available methods to test nephrotoxicity have been through animal models, which have not performed well, and in vitro assays using artificially cultivated cells from immortal cell lines, which have safety issues in clinical applications.

Toxic effects to the kidney are frequently detected only during clinical trials and sometimes after drug approval, which can be expensive for pharmaceutical companies and problematic for affected patients.

Kidney cells can be isolated from fresh human kidney samples, from cancer patients, for example, but these cells change rapidly and die quickly. Variability is a problem when the cells are used for industrial and clinical purposes.

“And cell samples obtained from different owners are always kind of different,” Zink said.

Zink and colleagues used human embryonic stem cells to generate human kidney cells without also using animals or other organ tissues.


Although the kidney is made up of about 25 cell types, the researchers focused on creating renal proximal tubular-like cells, which are involved in several important kidney functions. These cells filter the blood for valuable compounds like glucose, proteins and electrolytes for reuptake, and they help reabsorb about 90 percent of the water.

Changes in gene expression patterns in these renal proximal tubular-like cells reliably predicted toxicity in experimental assays as well as or better than primary cell types. Zink said her group is testing induced pluripotent stem cells for use in assays as well, and these cells also seem to work.

“What is clear is that these cells are not exactly the same as kidney cells in the human body, [but] our stem cell-derived cells are very similar to cells which are freshly derived from human kidneys, and that is the best you can currently achieve,” Zink said. “Also, if you isolate fresh human kidney cells, they are already changed and different.”

These differences are not a major problem for toxicology applications.

Looking ahead, Zink said these stem cell-derived kidney cells could be good enough for use in artificial kidneys.

Report by Radha Chitale, Medical Tribune

Resveratrol restores stem cells in premature aging

by Nurses on Duty

Resveratrol restores stem cells in premature aging

A Hong Kong study shows that resveratrol, a substance in grapes, restores stem cells and delays the onset of aging in a premature aging disorder known as Read the rest of this entry »

Nurses key to psoriasis care

by Nurses on Duty

Nursing care of Psoriasis

Nurses can play a vital role in the treatment of psoriasis, not just by administering treatment but also by providing support through empathy and personalized care, according to an expert.

“They are able to manage patients’ expectations of the treatment and encourage them to adhere to it, because typical psoriasis treatment requires long-term commitment to topical medicines that present numerous application challenges,” said Dr. Colin Theng, chief of the psoriasis unit at the National Skin Centre, Singapore and president of the Psoriasis Association of Singapore.

Psoriasis carries a strong social stigma and its emotional impact on sufferers can Read the rest of this entry »

Influenza vaccine lowers risk of preterm birth

by Nurses on Duty

Flu vaccine lowers risk of preterm birth

Pregnant women who received the H1N1 influenza vaccine during the 2009 pandemic were less likely to have premature babies, says a study.

Influenza infection during pregnancy is associated with adverse infant outcomes such as preterm birth.

Emory researchers from the Rollins School of Public Health, in a joint study with Kaiser Permanente of Georgia and the Mid-Atlantic States, evaluated the effectiveness of Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Fractional Needling Therapy? Is it safe?

by Nurses on Duty

The role of aesthetics in the human condition has long been established, so much so that it is an integral part of the expanded Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which covers appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc. This has more to do with medicine than style as there isn’t a drastic or frequent change in trend because everything is headed towards one direction—to make you feel good about yourself. And hand in hand with this trend, the growing demand for medical aesthetics is no longer a question. It has reached the same level as any other medical procedure and some evidence of such an impulse is found in every culture and in every age, even back in ancient times. Undergoing such kinds of treatments to make you look good, regardless of age is socially accepted.

With all the attention that we pay to our skin coupled by technologies that do wonders, it is imperative that we entrust our skin to people who know about it the most. It is very important to make it a practice to seek skin professionals who have good experience in aesthetic treatments because as easy as it may sound, these medical procedures still require a lot of skill and knowledge, and there are just some things you never go for a sale or discount–after all, these are your face and body being taken into consideration.

So how would you know if a medical practitioner has the integrity and sufficient knowledge of his/her practice? Read the rest of this entry »

Treatment for Infants of Mothers who present late in Pregnancy with an Untreated HIV-1 Infection

by Nurses on Duty

2-1 mother-childThe best treatment for infants of mothers with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection who have not received antiretroviral therapy in pregnancy is uncertain. Three regimens have been compared in an international trial. A total of 1,684 bottle-fed infants of mothers who received a diagnosis of HIV-1 infection late in pregnancy were randomized within 48 hours of birth in Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, or the USA to one of three treatment regimens: zidovudine for 6 weeks (Z6), zidovudine for 6 weeks plus three doses of nevirapine in the first 8 days (Z6 + Nev), or zidovudine for 6 weeks plus nelfinavir and lamivudine for 2 weeks (Z6 + Nelf L). The overall rate of in Read the rest of this entry »

Management of Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Adolescents

by Nurses on Duty


The increased prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents has led to an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes. The physical and emotional challenges of adolescence, together with the increased frequency of obesity and diabetes in underprivileged communities, add to the difficulties of diabetes control. Three treatment approaches have been compared in a US multicentre trial.

A total of 699 patients aged 10–17 years with type 2 diabetes (mean duration, 7.8 months) and obesity (body mass index, 85th percentile or higher for age and sex) were randomized to Read the rest of this entry »

Reducing Measles Mortality

by Nurses on Duty

Reducing Measles MortalityOne global goal was to halve measles deaths between 1999 and 2005, and that was achieved. A new goal was then set to reduce measles mortality by 90% between 2000 and 2010. There has been no endemic measles virus transmission in the Americas since 2002, and only the southeast Asia region of the World Health Organization has not set an aim of measles elimination by 2020. Measles mortality fell by an estimated 74% between 2000 and 2010, from 535,300 to 139,300 deaths. All regions except southeast Asia achieved a reduction of > 75%. In India, measles deaths fell by 25% from 88,000 to 65,500. In 2010, almost half (47%) of all deaths from measles were in India and 56% were in Africa. Achievement of the 2000–2010 goal was impeded by delayed implementation of disease control in India and outbreaks of measles in Africa. Greater political and financial commitment are needed.


Simons E et al. Assessment of the 2010 global measles mortality reduction goal: results from a model of surveillance data. Lancet 2012; 379: 2173–2178; Orenstein WA, Hinman AR. Measles: the burden of preventable deaths. Ibid: 2130–2131 (comment).
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Hormonal Contraception and Cardiovascular Risk

by Nurses on Duty

Hormonal Contraception and Cardiovascular Risk A Danish registry study has provided more data about cardiovascular risks associated with hormonal contraception. Data were obtained from four national registries over a 15-year period about non-pregnant women aged 15–49 with no history of cardiovascular disease or cancer. The data included 1,626,158 women with 14,251,063 person-years of observation, during which there were 3,311 thrombotic strokes and 1,725 myocardial infarctions. The rate of thrombotic stroke was 21.4 per 100,000 person-years and of myocardial infarction, 10.1 per 100,000 person-years. Among women using oral contraceptives including ethinyl oestradiol at a dose of 30–40 µg, the risk of thrombotic stroke was increased 1.5- to 2.2-fold according to progestin type, compared with non-users. The risk of myocardial infarction was increased 1.3- to 2.3-fold. At an ethinyl oestradiol dose of 20 µg, the increase in risk was less in general, and there was no increased risk with drospirenone as the progestin. Transdermal patches were not associated with significantly increased risk for either thrombotic stroke or myocardial infarction. Vaginal ring was associated with a significant 2.5-fold increase in risk of thrombotic stroke but a non-significant increase in risk of myocardial infarction. Although hormonal contraception may increase the risks of thrombotic stroke and myocardial infarction, the absolute risks are low. An editorialist concludes that they are ‘safe enough’.


Lidegaard Ø et al. Thrombotic stroke and myocardial infarction with hormonal contraception. NEJM 2012; 366: 2257–2266; Petitti DB. Hormonal contraceptives and arterial thrombosis – not risk-free but safe enough. Ibid: 2316–2318 (editorial).

The Power of Herbs

by Nurses on Duty

Since the beginning of time, women have used natural ingredients like herbs to beautify themselves. Mother Nature is in fact filled with some of the best skin and hair care ingredients, and many have been used in our favorite beauty products, like in shampoos and conditioners. But it can get quite confusing as to what works and how they can benefit you.

To help you get the most of Mother Nature’s beauty cabinet, here are some herbs you’d want to stock up on for a more beautiful you.

Read the rest of this entry »