Child Gets Stem Cell Trachea
The news is all over the Internet. Another patient, this one a child, has successfully received a trachea fashioned from his own stem cells. Doctors performed the initial transplant two years ago and Ciaran Finn-Lynch, age 13, is now breathing normally. He no longer needs anti-rejection medicine and his trachea has grown 11 centimeters since it was implanted.
According to Lara Salahi, writing for ABC News on July 25, researchers at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and the University College London, stripped cells from a donor trachea and then used Ciaran's own bone marrow stem cells to rebuild the airways in the body. Doctors also infused growth proteins to generate the tissue lining.
What made this trachea implantation different from others is that, once the trachea was transplanted, the researchers continued to infuse growth proteins into the organ to continue stem cell generation. They believe that this technique allowed them to transplant the organ into the boy much sooner, instead of having to wait for the organ to grow outside of his body.
"Because the protocol used in this study was devised in an emergency, we applied empirically a new combination of technologies on the basis of previous clinical successes in non-airway settings, " Salahi quotes the researchers, who cited bioengineering techniques previously used to regenerate bone, nerves, and skin, as saying.
We need more research on stem cells grown deliberately inside the body, rather than grown first in a laboratory over a long time, " said Dr Martin Birchall, professor of Laryngology at the University College London, and co-author of the paper. "This research should help to convert one-off successes such as this into more widely available clinical treatments for thousands of children with severe tracheal problems worldwide.
Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, director of the Advanced Center for Translational Regenerative Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and his team have been performing the transplants since 2008, when they transplanted a trachea using adult stem cells on a woman in Barcelona who suffered from tuberculosis. The first U.S. patient underwent a stem cell trachea transplant in January 2012.