Regenerative medicine is the future.
Scientists and surgeons have led a revolutionary operation to transplant a new trachea into a child, using the child's own stem cells to rebuild the airway in the body.
The operation -- a world first -- involved laboratory-based scientists and hospital-based clinicians working in partnership with colleagues in Europe to treat a 10-year-old British boy.
The boy, who has not been named, is recovering from surgery but his condition is stable and he is breathing unaided.
He was born with a rare condition called Long Segment Tracheal Stenosis -- a tiny windpipe that does not grow and restricts breathing.
Shortly after birth, he underwent a conventional trachea transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH), but his condition deteriorated last November when a metal stent implanted in that operation began to erode into the aorta, a key artery, causing severe bleeding.
Scientists and surgeons at UCL, GOSH, the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, and the Careggi University Hospital in Florence, Italy, developed a new technique to treat the life-threatening condition.
They stripped cells from a donated trachea, used it to replace the entire length of the damaged airway, and then used the child's own bone marrow stem cells to seal the airway in the body. …