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A boy in England has received the first organ transplant that will grow inside the patient's body using their own stem cells.   (Source: PA)
The era of replaceable organs is drawing near

Mankind is close to defying nature and extending human beings' life spans tens of years by using replacement organs.  The key to this progress is stem cells, the same kind of cells that differentiated to form your original tissues.

In England, a 10-year-old boy received a groundbreaking tracheal transplant at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.  The windpipe -- a flexible tube that connects the nose, mouth and lungs -- was replaced with an organ that will grow inside the boy's own body using the boy's own stem cells.

The story began when the boy was born with long segment tracheal stenosis, a debilitating condition that leaves the victim with a 1 mm wide airway, which can lead to suffocation and death.  Doctors tried to treat the condition with stents, but the stents collapsed, cutting off the boy's airflow and damaging his aorta.  After the boy almost stopped breathing, his doctors contacted Paolo Macchiarini, from Careggi University Hospital, Florence.

Macchiarini decided to try an ambitious and risky approach that had never before been successfully performed -- regrowing the organ in the boy's own body using stem cells.  Leading a Italian, British and Spanish team, the researchers first took a donor windpipe and stripped it of all cells to prevent immune response.

The procedure has begun with a successful implant.  Seeded with the boy's stem cells and a cocktail of growth-promoting chemicals, the tissue was implanted into the boy last Week.  The boy responded well, breathing normally and speaking soon after the operation.

Professor Martin Birchall, head of translational regenerative medicine at University College London called the procedure a "milestone moment" and pointed out that by allowing the boy's own cells to regrow the tissue, the cost was dramatically lowered to "tens of thousands pounds rather than hundreds of thousands."  

He states, "We believe it’s a real milestone.  It is the first time a child has received stem-cell organ treatment, and it’s the longest airway that has ever been replaced. I think the technique will allow not just highly specialized hospitals to carry out stem-cell organ transplants. We don’t think it’s going to replace conventional transplants just yet, but already there are certain aspects of conventional transplant surgery it can be applied to. We need to think about how to make regenerative medicine a key part of our healthcare."

The work follows other significant work two years ago in Spain where Claudia Castillo, 30, became the first person to receive a portion of trachea regrown with stem cells.  That transplant, however, was a much shorter tract of trachea and was much more expensive as it was grown outside the body in a special bioreactor.

The researchers are looking forward to advancing the treatment aggressively, perhaps next performing larynx or oesophagus stem cell transplants.

Despite this optimism, it still remains to be seen whether the boy's recovery is as successful as anticipated.  Given Castillo's success, though, the boy is expected to make a full recovery.  And with that recovery mankind will move one step closer to immortality.

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Arrogant much?
By Treckin on 3/22/2010 1:10:56 PM , Rating: -1
Many of the comments here are arrogant to the point of laugh-ability; AS IF we were capable of doing irreparable damage to the human genome via a "lack of pressure" or whatever. Such motivational pressures exits in abundance, yet in another form. Surely you wont say that it was HARDER (ie more pressure) to be the successful hunter-gatherer than it is to make to the the university in China or the US? Surely quantum mechanics is pressure enough in this life, not to mention simply having to navigate the rigors of teen life in crazy complex social construction?

Try to put everything into perspective here. And regardless of what Glen Beck says, progressivity is and HAS been the mark of humanity, and without it, no talent ass clowns like Beck would have been put to death or raped in the skull by bands of ultra-capitalist pirates.


RE: Arrogant much?
By MadMan007 on 3/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: Arrogant much?
By JediJeb on 3/22/2010 4:00:43 PM , Rating: 1
There is a difference between Progress and Progressive Politics. Progress is an advancement in science, culture, ect. Progressive Politics is simply another way to describe the idea that government should be in charge of the everyday lives of its citizens. I like Progress, but I do not like Progressive Politics.

RE: Arrogant much?
By porkpie on 3/23/2010 12:03:59 AM , Rating: 2
Surely you wont say that it was HARDER (ie more pressure) to be the successful hunter-gatherer than it is to make to the the university in China or the US? Surely quantum mechanics is pressure enough in this life
Wow...I honestly didn't believe it was possible for anyone to misunderstand evolution to such a degree.

Treckin, you're describing a failed theory known as Lamarckism, that died out nearly two centuries ago. Why not learn a little about evolution , then come back and chat with us?

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