Kidney-friendly bacteria

Published: Wednesday 30 November 1994

Scientists at the University of Florida in Gainesville have isolated 2 genes from a bacterium called Oxalobacter rmigenes that may pave the way for removing kidney stones through gene therapy.

The genes in question direct the production of enzymes that break down oxalic acid. Left alone, oxalic acid binds with calcium to form crystals that solidify into painful stones. Ammon B Peck introduced the genes into embryonic rat tissue and will soon graft the tissue into kidneys of adult rats. The rats will be fed a high-oxalate diet to see if the genetically engineered tissue can prevent the formation of kidney stones.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.