physicians/scientists perform the first trachea transplant
Reported online on November 18 on the website of the journal Lancet, physicians from the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, Spain reported the first trachea transplant. The transplant trachea that was transplanted was produced from a segment of donor trachea that was denuded of donor cells, leaving a cartilage matrix, and subsequently reseeded with chondrocytes derived from bone marrow stem cells of the recipient, a 30 year old woman who developed significant tracheal stenosis and a hypoplastic left main bronchus secondary to infiltrative tuberculosis.
Before the transplant, the recipient could not even continue a conversation without becoming short of breath. In contrast Paolo Macchiarini, the first author of this study, and colleagues report that a few months after the transplant, the patient could “walk up two flights of stairs, walk 500 meters without stopping, and care for her children.”
And because the cells within the tracheal graft are the recipient’s own, she does not have to take anti-rejection medicines/immunosuppressants.
I am extremely excited about this development. This is only the tip of the iceberg–stem cell technology will only get better with time–this is a great time to be in academic medicine at the forefront of this work!