New treatment could ease the passage of kidney stones

Passing kidney stones is a process that can be incredibly painful. The way kidney stones are treated today has not developed much since the 1980s, and there is much evidence that the drugs given are not effective. 

Professor Michael Cima is a part of a team of MIT and Massachusetts General Health Hospital researchers that has devised a potential new treatment that could make passing kidney stones faster and less painful. They have identified a combination of two drugs that relax the walls of the ureter, and can be delivered directly to the ureter. Researchers selected 18 possible drugs, exposed them to human ureteral cells grown in a lab dish, and then measured how much the drugs relaxed the cells.

This approach could also be useful for relaxing the ureter to help doctors insert a stent, or any other kind of instrument, in the ureter.

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