In a pioneering operation, a British teenager has received a new windpipe grown from her own stem cells and has now been discharged after the procedure in Italy. This actually saved her life as she was suffering from a rare form of tracheal cancer.
“The patient was able to speak again only a few days after the surgery”, said Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, professor of surgery at the University of Barcelona in Spain and the head surgeon in the case.
Macchiarini and his team regenerated tissue from the patients nose and bone marrow stem cells to create a trachea biologically identical to her original organ. The girl’s stem cells were grafted on to the cartilage of donor trachea that had been stripped of its own cells. Because the new trachea contained no cells from another person, no anti-rejection drugs were needed.