The main result of the year – The first regenerative medicine surgery in Russia


paolo macchiarini, tissue engineering, tissue engineered trachea, regenerative surgery, mikhail batin, russian academy of medical scienses, petrovsky center of surgery, regenerative medicine in russia

For the Science for Life Extension Foundation the main result of the year was the first in Russia unique transplant surgery of a trachea grown from the patient’s own stem cells inside her body. The surgery based on Professor Paolo Macchiarini’s technique was carried out in December in the Petrovsky Research Center of Surgery of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow.

The Foundation spent a full year and a half in order to bring this technology to Russia. We fully financed this project and organized the work between all the collaborators – Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Petrovsky Research Center of Surgery, Careggi University Hospital in Florence, pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of biomaterials. The total cost of the project was $330, 000.

Last summer when we learned about the unique surgeries done by Macchiarini, we went to Barcelona where he was the Head of the Thoracic Surgery Department in the Hospital Clinic. We agreed to have him visit Moscow to share his experience with Russian specialists. In February 2010, Paolo gave a master class in the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. It was at that time when an agreement was reached on introducing his technique in Russia.

In August 2010 Macchiarini came to Russia again to sign the research and clinical collaboration contract with the Petrovsky Research Center of Surgery. Earlier this fall the Foundation organized the training for the employees of the Petrovsky Center  in the Department of Regenerative Surgery and Bio-transplantation at the Careggi University Hospital in Florence, where Professor Macchiarini is the current department head.They studied the process of trachea preparation for transplantation and could watch the surgery live.  Previously, there had been seven other tissue engineered trachea transplants that were performed  in Western Europe and none in the US.

So, on December, 7 such a surgery was carried out in Moscow. The patient was a 26-year old woman. In 2006 she was hit by a car where she sustained very serious injuries, went through a clinical death and stayed comatose for several months. She was unable to breathe on her own and had a tube in her trachea for a long time. As a result the trachea was damaged.  Doctors in Kazakhstan, Israel and China couldn’t help the girl breathe normally. She required constant medical attention and was forced to permanently live in a clinic with frequent surgical interventions..

Then the patient’s mother took her to Moscow, so that she could undergo surgery using Macchiarini’s technique. The technology is as follows: a trachea taken from a dead donor is treated with special compounds until there’s no donor cells left, which elliminates the rejection problem and there’s no need to supress the patient’s immune system. Before the transplantation, the obtained scaffold is treated with the patient’s bone marrow cells and also cells from the mucosa, so that the inner mucosa of the treachea can be formed afterwards. Plus the growth factors are added. There’s also a biodegradable stent placed inside the new trachea. The patient’s body in this case plays a role of the bioreactor, inside of which the new healthy organ is formed during a couple of weeks.

Right now the patient is ready to be discharged – she can talk, breathes much better, is able to walk and undergo a physical load.

This surgery is a great beginning to the implementation of regenerative medicine technologies into human clinical practice. These technologies provide a wide perspective for treating severe illnesses associated with loss of vital organs and tissues and also has let Russian research and clinical institutions become a major player in the international consortium for regenerative medicine.

23 Comments

Filed under Life Extension, Regenerative medicine

23 responses to “The main result of the year – The first regenerative medicine surgery in Russia

  1. Very impressive. Let see what the future holds for this technique which will depend upon the extent to which it will be used.

  2. The plan is to use this technique and/or modify it to engineer other organs.

  3. LoboSolo

    Excellent! … Unfortunately, I bet the FDA won’t approve the technique for quite some time in the US. Glad to Russia out in front.

  4. I describe useful our views of such blogs
    Blogs have a similar

  5. Fran Wilson

    Is any of this available for osteoarthritis…Fran Wilson

    • Well, not particularly how it was done in this surgery. There are some cell therapy solutions for treating osteoarthritis. I think things like Carticell, but one should always consult with a docotor specializing in cell therapy treatments, because most of them are still in the phase of clinical trials, and, of course, each patient situation is different.

  6. Maria Rivera

    I´ve been told that in the future it will be possible to grow a full body from stem cells, that could also be created from ordinary cells. Does this possibility really exist?

    • Yes, as a matter of fact it does. The technology is called induced pluripotent stem cells or iPSC. Ordinary cells, skin cells for example, are taken from an individual and converted into cells that very closely resemble embryonic stem cells. This means one can further guide their transformation into pretty much any type of cells, ones of the damaged organ for example. This can be done in model animals, there is proof of concept for trading diseases like sickle cell anemia and motor neuron pathologies, however researchers still have to come up with safer ways of converting the cells.
      This outstanding technology gives us hope that one day, quite soon actually, we’ll be able to replace and heal damaged and diseases organs. Although, not the brain I guess. Not at least in the first place.

      • Maria Rivera

        What about growing a full body? In cryogenics there is the belief that if you have preserved a brain, it is possible that some day it could be implanted in a body grown from some of the donor`s cell, a kind of a clone. According to your response, it seems that it might happen. Am I right?

        • Maria Rivera

          What about growing a full body? In cryogenics there is the belief that if you have preserved a brain, it is possible that some day it could be implanted in a body grown from some of the donor`s cell, a kind of a clone. According to your response, it seems that it might happen. Am I right?

  7. Chiara L.

    Do you have any news about the young lady one year after transplantation? Is she still doing well?

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