Can stem cells help kidney disease?

Louis A. Cona M.D.

This post aims to explain how mesenchymal stem cells might have the ability to treat kidney disease.

Kidney failure is a condition that affects over 660,000 Americans and leads to nearly 47,000 deaths each year. Although there are many causes of kidney failure, the current treatment is fairly similar. Patients often need weekly dialysis at the cost of approximately $80,000 annually while waiting in the lengthy list for a transplant. Fortunately, advances in stem cell science have led to some findings that show promise in the treatment of kidney failure.  

Healthy functioning kidneys filter waste and excess fluids from the body. However, various conditions can cause damage to the kidneys, resulting in excess fluids, waste, and electrolytes accumulating in the body. This can cause a wide range of negative reactions in the body. Although the kidneys have a limited regenerative capability on their own, eventually the damage caused by kidney disease overwhelms the organs. The result is a patient that becomes dependent on external dialysis to live, and eventually whole organ transplant. Causes of kidney disease vary, but almost half of all kidney failure cases are caused by diabetes.

How does this relate to Stem Cell therapy?

The goal of scientists has been to find and supplement the cells in the kidneys that lead to organ regeneration. Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers have recently identified certain mesenchymal cells, a type of stem cell, that plays a large role in kidney healing. These types of stem cells can be transplanted into the body to promote the regeneration of damaged kidney tissue and reduce overall inflammation. Additionally, stem cells have already been used in conjunction with organ transplants to eliminate the need for a lifetime of immunosuppressant drugs. 

Patients, such as Rob Waddell, with a family history of polycystic kidney disease, opted for a stem cell transplant to ensure long term success following his kidney transplant. He now lives a very active lifestyle, free of once necessary drugs. 

DVC Stem is a stem cell therapy pioneer, offering stem cell therapies for years and has become a cornerstone of the medical tourism industry. Located in the tropical paradise of Grand Cayman in the Western Caribbean, we offer patients a nearby alternative to traveling long distances and to less ideal locations. Our protocols are IRB approved, and our cells come from regulated, U.S. based, FDA compliant laboratories. We seek to offer the highest quality products, the latest available treatments for a variety of conditions, all combined with a world-class setting and service. 


Tyler explains his experience at DVC Stem in the Cayman Islands.

Tyler is optimistic that he will see positive results post treatment.

"The cool thing about the Cayman Islands besides being beautiful, it was an opportunity to get some rest and relaxation allowing my body to heal and restore. I'm back in the US now and feel like I am ready to conquer the world."

- Tyler Heid


2 weeks post treatment, MS patient Tyler is beginning to see amazing progress. He has been wheelchair bound for the last year and has not been able to move his legs unassisted before now.


Tyler updates about his progress, explaining the amazing response he has been receiving from his friends and family.

"People coming up to me saying I am moving, talking and smiling so much better. They are noticing a lot of things that have improved over the course of 3 months."

"This morning I was able to do things that I was unable to do before, I was able to stand up and lift my leg higher than I ever have before."


5 months post treatment Tyler sends us an update on his progress.

"I'm able to smile better, I have more control over the left side of my face."

"I have an increased ability to grip, lift my legs higher and higher which has gone well."

Tyler is optimistic and on the right track to recovery. We are ecstatic to see his progress and look forward to more updates from him.

"I have an increased ability to grip, lift my legs higher and higher which has gone well."

Tyler Heid - 5 months post treatment

David Lyons

Multiple Sclerosis

Although David Lyons was able to successfully fight Multiple Sclerosis through a strict regimen of diet and exercise, he wanted to ensure he was doing everything he could to stay fit. Multiple Sclerosis can be managed with treatment, but there is currently no cure for the disease. For that reason, David came to DVC Stem years ago to use the regenerative and anti-inflammatory attributes of stem cells to aid in his fight for fitness.

The positive results he experienced enabled David to stay strong in the gym, now into his 60s, and that is why he continues to support our clinic to this day.

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