TEHRAN (FNA)- Spanish surgeons succeeded in performing the world's first windpipe transplantation using tissue grown from the patient's own stem cells.
According to a report published in The Lancet, windpipe (tracheal) transplantation performed on a Colombian woman has eliminated the patient's need for immunosuppressants, anti-rejection drugs.
The report stated that four months after the transplant, the 30-year-old patient is doing well and shows no sign of rejection.
The patient who suffered from tuberculosis had lost part of her windpipe due to the underlying disease, and struggled with breathing difficulties.
Physicians at Barcelona's Hospital Clinic seeded cells obtained from the patient's bone marrow in a lab. Using a device developed at Milan Polytechnic, they incubated the cells to make epithelial cells for lining the trachea.
This created a hybrid organ that would be identified as a part of the patient's body after transplantation, rendering immunosuppressant therapy unnecessary.
Finally, the team grafted a 5 cm piece of the trachea onto the patient's damaged left bronchus, the tube connecting the main windpipe to the left lung.
Before deciding on this experimental surgery, removing the entire left lung was thought to be the only solution for the patient, a choice which would have seriously brought down her quality of life.
This operation is believed to be particularly effective in children born with defective airways, individuals suffering from tracheal scars or tumors and those with collapsed windpipes.
Scientists are optimistic that this attempt will pave the way for laboratory production and transplantation of other organs from patient stem cells in the near future.