May
27
 

Adult stem cells used to give boy new windpipe

We missed this optimistic stem cell story at the time, but it’s too good to omit. In March, researchers at University College London (UCL) gave a new trachea to a 10-year-old boy, using his own stem cells. The operation was a world first, involving both hospital-based clinicians and laboratory-based scientists collaborating with colleagues in Europe.

The boy was born with Long Segment Tracheal Stenosis – a rare condition where the windpipe does not grow and restricts breathing. A short time after birth, he was given a conventional trachea transplant at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH), but his condition deteriorated last year. A metal stent was implanted which eroded his aorta and caused severe bleeding.

A transplant technique with adult stem cells was developed at UCL, GOSH, the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, and the Careggi University Hospital in Florence, Italy. Cells were stripped from a donated trachea. These were used to replace the whole airway, and the child’s bone marrow cells were used to seal the airway in the body.

This technique – one that has not been used previously to treat a child – should greatly reduce the risk of rejection by the body, as adult stem cells will not generate an immune response. ~ UCL News Mar 19



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