2-year-old girl receives stem cell trachea transplant

regenerative medicine stem cells (J E Theriot)

A two-year-old Korean-Canadian girl is the latest to benefit from the miracle of regenerative medicine – as scientists were able to grow a trachea from the girl's own stem cells and have it implanted by surgeons during a nine-hour-long procedure at the Children's Hospital of Illinois.

Hannah Warren was born in August 2010 in Seoul, South Korea. She was born without a trachea, which has meant she's been unable to breathe, eat, drink or swallow on her own. In the ground-breaking procedure, surgeons extracted the stem cells from bone marrow in Hannah's hip and seeded them on a plastic scaffold in a lab. Within a week, the stem cells had multiplied and formed a new trachea of about 3 inches in length. It was implanted by surgeons on April 9th. Early signs indicate the operation has been a success, and the girl is reportedly acting playfully and smiling.

The surgery was only the sixth of its kind performed in the world, and was pioneered by Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, director of the Advanced Center for Translational Regenerative Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The operation was approved by the FDA as an experimental operation for patients with very little hope of survival.

Of course, as only a few procedures similar to this have ever taken place, it's hard to really determine whether this is just a temporary fix or is a valid long-term solution for Hannah. However, Dr Macchiarini does apparently plan to conduct a clinical trial for the procedure in the US. What do you think about this news?

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If you'd like to hear more about innovations and strategy in regenerative medicine, you might be interested in attending the World Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine Congress, 21-23 May 2013, London. Click here to download the brochure.

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Comments 1

  1. David L. Stocum

    Does anyone have any information as to whether or not theplastic scaffold is biodegradable to allow for growth of the implant, or if not, to allow growth at the ends of the implant?

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