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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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RE: Universal healthcare
By dtunernask on 3/22/2010 4:12:05 PM , Rating: -1
You thought that because you've been brainwashed by the cromagnon... i mean Republican party. Universal healthcare is NOT socialism, and does NOT mean people get inferior healthcare.
Have a splinter? You might have to wait on line.
Have a Brain Tumor? You'll be rolled into the surgery room asap.
Educate yourself, your family, and your friends about what universal healthcare trully means.


RE: Universal healthcare
By porkpie on 3/22/2010 4:20:50 PM , Rating: 3
"Have a Brain Tumor? You'll be rolled into the surgery room asap."

Oh really?

quote:
After suffering from crushing headaches and vision problems, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor four years ago. She was told if it wasn't removed, she could go blind or even die.

"They said to me that you had a brain tumor and it was pressing on your optic chasm and that it needed to come out immediately," Holmes said.

Holmes is Canadian, but the "they" she refers to are doctors at the Mayo Clinic in the United States, where she turned after specialists in her own government-run health care system would not see her fast enough.

"My family doctor at that time tried to get me in to see an endocrinologist and a neurologist," Holmes recalled. "It was going to be four months for one specialist and six months for the other."

Even with the warning from U.S. doctors in hand, Holmes said she still couldn't get in to see Canadian specialists. Because the government system is the only health care option for Canadians, she says she had no choice but to have the surgery in the U.S.
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/07/06/canadian.he...

In the past, I've posted dozens of links about patients in Canada and Britain waiting months or even years for treatment for serious medical conditions.


RE: Universal healthcare
By cabooble on 3/23/2010 3:43:39 AM , Rating: 2
I've enjoyed reading your posts in this thread, and agree with most of what you've said.

However, it seems as though you bring up this case to demonstrate how flawed the Canadian system is. How many cases can you find of US residents unable to receive treatments because they couldn't afford them? I doubt any significant number of those are publicized.


RE: Universal healthcare
By porkpie on 3/23/2010 10:55:26 AM , Rating: 3
The point in contention here is whether or not socialized medicine will make health care better for the average US citizen -- the person who already has health care. It will not.

Obviously someone not currently receiving health care will be better off by getting it for free...no matter how poor that service is, something is better than nothing. But all in all, giving such people guaranteed health care is not a good thing.


"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein














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