Spanish doctors have successfully given a woman a new windpipe built with her own stem cells.
After stripping the donor windpipe down to just the collagen they seeded it with cells from the 30-year old woman, who was suffering with the after-effects of TB. This was then used to replace the woman’s left main bronchus.
“The graft immediately provided the recipient with a functional airway, improved her quality of life, and had a normal appearance and mechanical properties at 4 months,” Paolo Macchiarini, of the Hospital Clinico de Barcelona, and his research team write in The Lancet. “The patient had no anti-donor antibodies and was not on immunosuppressive drugs.”
The patient, Claudia Castillo, told the BBC, “I was a sick woman, now I will be able to live a normal life. I am very, very hopeful. I have been the first one but I encourage them to do more in the future.”
They very likely will, as the BBC notes that a 44-year-old woman is waiting for a suitable donor.
This next step may not be the only thing keeping the medical team awake at night. The Guardian says:
Claudia Castillo rang her surgeon at 5am one morning with surprising news. The 30-year-old, whose airway had been so damaged by TB she was gasping for breath on the stairs, told Professor Paolo Macchiarini she had been dancing all night in a club in Ibiza.
Pioneering Stem Cell Surgery Announced – NY Times
Woman given windpipe created in laboratory – CNN
British doctors help perform world’s first transplant of a whole organ grown in lab – Daily Telegraph