Synthetic Trachea From Patient's Own Cells Implanted

The first implantation of a synthetic tissue-engineered windpipe was accomplished at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, Stockholm last month. The patient, a 36-year old man is well on the way to a full recovery, and was just discharged from the hospital.


(New trachea made from a synthetic scaffold seeded with patient's own stem cells)

Professor Macchiarini led an international team including professor Alexander Seifalian from UCL (University College London, UK) who designed and built the nanocomposite tracheal scaffold and Harvard Bioscience (Boston, USA) who produced a specifically designed bioreactor used to seed the scaffold with the patient´s own stem cells. The cells were grown on the scaffold inside the bioreactor for two days before transplantation to the patient. 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 immunosuppressive drugs.

The patient had been suffering from late stage tracheal cancer. Despite maximum treatment with radiation therapy, the tumor had reached approximately 6 cm in length and was extending to the main bronchus. It was progressing and almost completely blocked the trachea. Since no suitable donor windpipe was available, the transplantation of the synthetic tissue engineered trachea was performed as the last possible option for the patient, referred by Professor Tomas Gudbjartsson of Landspitali University Hospital (Iceland) who was also part of the surgical team.

Artificial organs are long familiar to science fiction readers since writer Philip K. Dick wrote about artiforgs (artificial organs) in his 1964 novel Cantata 140 and Larry Niven's artificially grown organs in his 1968 novel A Gift From Earth.

From Karolinska University press release via Medgadget.

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