Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Trachea made of stem cells saves a girl's life

A 2-year-old girl, named Hannah Warren, now has a new chance at life thanks to stem cell technology. The girl was born without a windpipe in South Korea in 2010 and up until now had spent her whole life at the hospital, being unable to breathe, eat or drink by her own. Hannah was operated at the central Illinois hospital, where she received a new windpipe (trachea) made out of her own stem cells.

To create the new trachea, the doctors used autologous stem cells harvested from bone marrow tissue. The cells were then seeded onto a plastic scaffold, taking them about a week to develop into a trachea which was transplanted in April 9, during a long nine hour operation.

For now, Hannah still requires a ventilator to breath, but no longer needs a tube in her mouth. She is also unable to eat normally, but the doctors allowed her to lick a lolipop, the first thing she has ever tasted!

Initially, the Korean doctors had told Hannah's parents that the girl wouldn't survive for long, but now thanks to the transplanted trachea the U.S. doctors following her progress believe the girl will eventually lead a normal and healthy life.

The operation was led by Dr. Paolo Macchiarini's who is a pioneer in growing organs from stem cells

"We feel like she's reborn. "They hope that she can do everything that a normal child can do but it's going to take time. This is a brand new road that all of us are on. This is her only chance but she's got a fantastic one and an unbelievable one." said Hannah's father, Darryl Warren. 

Video about one of the operations carried out by  Macchiarini

1 comment:

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