British and Italian doctors have carried out groundbreaking surgery to rebuild the windpipe of a 10-year-old British boy using stem cells developed within his own body, they said.
In an operation Monday lasting nearly nine hours, doctors at London’s Great Ormond Street children’s hospital implanted the boy with a donor trachea, or windpipe, that had been stripped of its cells and injected with his own.
Over the next month, doctors expect the boy’s bone marrow stem cells to begin transforming themselves within his body into tracheal cells — a process that, if successful, could lead to a revolution in regenerative medicine.
The new organ should not be rejected by the boy’s immune system, a risk in traditional transplants, because the cells are derived from his own tissue.
“This procedure is different in a number of ways, and we believe it’s a real milestone,” said Professor Martin Birchall, head of translational regenerative medicine at University College London.