Stockholm, Sweden- A milestone in regenerative medicine, the first ever laboratory grown windpipe has been transplanted into a male cancer patient. The patient, Andemariam Beyene, will be discharged today as the first man to have a completely synthetic windpipe implanted into his body. This breakthrough may eliminate the need for organ donors in years to come.
In the past, viable organs donated by deceased donors were necessary to bioengineer synthetic organs for transplantation. The first tissue-engineered trachea utilizing a patient’s own stem cells was transplanted in 2008. Now in 2011, new strides have been made with the 36-year old cancer undergoing the procedure at the Karolinska University Hospital a month ago.
The organ was grown from scratch with the help of technology from the University of London. An artificial “scaffold” was used to grow the patient’s own stem cells taken from his bone marrow.
There are two types of bone marrow, red marrow & yellow marrow, and they contains three types of stem cells. Stem cells in adults work to repair and replenish tissues in the body. Stem cells have both self-renewal and potency properties that make these cells vital to regenerative medicine.
[INFOGRAPHIC] – Now they can add this ‘first’ to the list!
Because these organs are built using the patient’s own stem cells there is no risk of the organ being rejected by the patient’s immune system.
A 2010 study suggests that “stem cells intentionally cut and then repair their own DNA as a mechanism of activating genes that promote the development of new tissue.” Our genetic code is made of 46 strands of DNA, many cancers occur when carcinogens form DNA mutations. Ironically it is these stem cells that are possibly breaking their DNA to promote growth and regeneration.
This progress and news will literally change the life of millions waiting on organ donor lists. The Stockholm patient is said to be recovering well and will be discharged from the hospital today.