Successfully Transplanted Tailor-Made Windpipe From Stem Cells

Claudia Castillo suffered from a tuberculosis infection which affected her bronchial tube making it collapse at the point where it entered her lungs. Facing a complete lung removal, Claudia instead went through a pioneering operation to have a new windpipe grown for her using her own bone marrow stem cells. Claudia, a native to Barcelona, has become the first person to be given a whole organ tailor-made just for her.

Researchers and surgeons from Britain, Italy and Spain collaborated to use Claudia’s stem cells in order to fashion a new bronchus that they could replace the collapsed one with.

Martin Birchall, of the University of Bristol says,

“This is the first time a tissue-engineered whole organ has been transplanted into a patient. I reckon in 20 years’ time it will be the commonest operation – it will transform the way we think about surgery.”

Thanks to this ground breaking surgery, Claudia can live a normal life. She no longer gets breathless when walking up stairs and can partake in physical activities as if she never contracted the life threatening infection. Though the surgery could be helpful to a great deal of people, at this time the procedure is too expensive to be widely available.

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