Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Procedure for the Differentiation of Stem Cells into Renal Epithelial Cells

Technology #3130

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Gregory R. Dressler
Managed By
Stefan Koehler
Senior Licensing Specialist, Health Technologies 734-764-4290
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending


Kidney disease is a major health problem in the United States, afflicting about 8 million Americans. Kidney disorders run the gamut from minor infections to total kidney failure. Many diseases that affect the kidney are chronic problems. Although diagnosis and treatment of kidney problems have improved significantly in the past 30 years, however, modern dialysis techniques and organ transplantation still present serious risk. Therefore, an improved understanding of the pathophysiology of kidney disease and improved treatment options for treating kidney disease are highly needed.


Researchers at the University of Michigan have for the first time developed a unique mixture of growth and differentiation factors that promote the formation of renal epithelial progenitor cells and their derivatives from the population of pluripotent stem cells. The factors utilized include the proteins Activin and BMP7 and the inducing molecule retinoic acid. The researchers have developed culture conditions by titrating the above named factors individually and in combination to achieve expression of gene products specific for the renal eptihelial cells.

Applications and Advantages


  • These in vitro differentiated cells can-nl-be introduced into a developing kidney and-nl-become integrated into the proximal and-nl-distal tubules.
  • Such in vitro differentiated cells may-nl-provide an unlimited source of renal cells-nl-for utilization in biological devices and-nl-for direct cell based therapies.


  • This technology provides source for biological-nl-research to understand kidney diseases.
  • This technology provides potential improved-nl-treatment for kidney diseases.