The first lab grown organ has been given to a patient in Sweden. A 36 year old man who had tracheal cancer has received a new windpipe grown from his own stem cells. Official announced that it’s the first successful procedure of its kind.
The Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm said the surgery was performed June 9, and that the patient is on his way to a “full recovery.” He will be released from a hospital Friday. Karolinska said the patient, whose late-stage cancer had almost fully blocked his windpipe, had no other options since no suitable donor windpipes were available.
Tracheal cancers are extremely rare, accounting for less than 1% of all cancers. Previous lab-generated transplants either used a segment of donor windpipe or involved tissue only, not an organ. In a laboratory in London, scientists created a trachea, which is a tube-like airway that connects at the voice box and branches into both lungs.
“Because the cells used to regenerate the trachea were the patient’s own, there has been no rejection of the transplant and the patient is not taking (anti-rejection) drugs,” Karolinska said in a statement.
Stem cells are biological cells found in all multicellular organisms, that can divide through mitosis and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self renew to produce more stem cells. The use of adult stem cells in research and therapy is not as controversial as the use of embryonic stem cells, because the production of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of an embryo. Additionally, in instances where adult stem cells are obtained from the intended recipient (an autograft), the risk of rejection is essentially non-existent.
Consequently, more US government funding is being provided for adult stem cell research.By: Pat Prescott
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