Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common clinical entity with high morbidity and mortality rates and ever increasing medical costs. A large number of patients who are hospitalized with morbidities such as diabetes, vascular disease, or chronic kidney disease are at high risk to develop AKI due to ischemic and nephrotoxic insults. The pathophysiology of ischemic and toxic forms of AKI is complex and includes tubular and vascular cell damage and inflammation. Given the seriousness of this essentially therapy-resistant complication, treatment beyond supportive measures and renal replacement therapy is urgently needed. Recent stem cell research has shown promising results, and cell therapy-based interventions are advancing into clinical trials. An example is our phase 1 clinical trial (NCT00733876) in which cardiac surgery patients at high risk of postoperative AKI were treated safely with allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells. Together with the introduction of biomarkers for an earlier and specific AKI diagnosis, currently tested stem cell-based therapies are expected to provide an entirely new class of diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
Published by Elsevier Inc.