Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Adult Stem Cell Medical Miracle

Below is a portion of an article from The Independent:

A 30-year-old Spanish woman has made medical history by becoming the first patient to receive a whole organ transplant grown using her own cells.

Experts said the development opened a new era in surgery in which the repair of worn-out body parts would be carried out with personally customised replacements.

Claudia Castillo, who lives in Barcelona, underwent the operation to replace her windpipe after tuberculosis had left her with a collapsed lung and unable to breathe. The bioengineered organ was transplanted into her chest last June at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona.

Four months later she was able to climb two flights of stairs, go dancing and look after her children – activities that had been impossible before the surgery. Ms Castillo has also crossed a second medical frontier by becoming the first person to receive a whole organ transplant without the need for powerful immunosuppressant drugs.

Doctors overcame the problem of rejection by taking her own stem cells to grow the replacement organ, using a donor trachea (lower windpipe) to provide the mechanical framework. Blood tests have shown no sign of rejection months after the surgery was complete.

The operation takes transplant surgery a step closer to the goal of replacing damaged or worn-out organs with functioning replacements that are not rejected by the body, which are in increasing demand as life expectancy grows. Conventional transplant surgery involving the transfer of organs from dead donors means the living recipients have to spend the rest of their lives on powerful drugs to suppress their immune systems, putting them at risk from infections and diseases such as cancer.

Two years ago, doctors in the US claimed a world first after transplanting seven patients with bladders grown in the laboratory. Yesterday, British researchers involved in the new case said that development had been a "major advance" which had "paved the way" for the new technique. But they said the bladder transplant had been of a "cellular patch" of tissue, not a whole organ.

The new technique of customising organs so that they are indistinguishable from the body's own tissues not only overcomes the problem of rejection but also greatly extends the range of organs and tissues that can be transplanted. Only one attempt had been made previously to transplant a windpipe – by surgeons in Ohio in 1998 – and the operation had not been repeated because the immune response had been too severe, requiring very heavy doses of immunosuppressant drugs. Transplant of other body parts, such as limbs, had been restricted by concerns over immunosuppression.

Professor Anthony Hollander, of the University of Bristol, said the advance had been achieved as a result of developments in stem-cell technology. "For stem-cell science, this is really exciting," he said. "Without stem cells this procedure would not have been possible."

ADULT - not embryonic - stem cells made this possible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I bet this news gets burried so that the continued killing of unborn babies profits the proaborts somehow.