Twice a week, Charlotte Matthew's family would take her on a four-hour round trip for dialysis.

The Wonthaggi girl, 4, who has congenital nephrotic syndrome, had one of her kidneys removed soon after birth and, as the other kidney failed late last year, she relied on dialysis to keep her alive.

Kidneys filter waste products from the blood which are then excreted in urine. They also regulate what the body should retain. But faulty filtering resulting from Charlotte's condition caused her to lose too many important proteins, hormones and vitamins.

Everything changed when she received a transplant at The Royal Children's Hospital.

Dr Cathy Quinlan, from MCRI, says Charlotte is now a healthy young girl who does cartwheels and handstands in the hospital hallways when coming in for check-ups.

Dr Quinlan says what makes this even more inspiring is that a blood sample taken from Charlotte will go on to help other children with her condition. 

Research led by MCRI used stem cells from Charlotte's blood to replicate her glomerulus, the damaged part of her kidney's waste-filtration system.

Dr Quinlan says the development is an important step towards personalised medicine for both rare kidney conditions and the most common type of adult kidney failure, diabetic nephropathy.

"The idea in studying children like Charlotte, and using models of her kidney disease, is that we start moving towards finding cures," she says.

"We can also use this model to try to find drugs that will make a huge difference for adults who have milder forms of disease."