April 30, 2013

A Stem Cell Created Windpipe for Hannah Warren

A stem cell created windpipe for Hannah Warren, who was born without a windpipe.

image: NYTimes

NYTimes on Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, who led the treatment for Hannah Warren -

Hannah Warren
Hannah was born without a windpipe, or trachea — an extremely rare condition that is eventually fatal in 99 percent of cases — and had lived since birth in a newborn intensive care unit in a Korean hospital, breathing through a tube inserted in her mouth.

Stem Cell Windpipe
To make Hannah’s windpipe, Dr. Macchiarini’s team made a half-inch diameter tube out of plastic fibers, bathed it in a solution containing stem cells taken from the child’s bone marrow and incubated it in a shoebox-size device called a bioreactor.

Doctors are not sure exactly what happens after implantation, but think that the stem cells signal the body to send other cells to the windpipe, which then sort out so the appropriate tissues grow on the inside and outside of the tube. Because the windpipe uses only the child’s own cells, there is no need for drugs to suppress the patient’s immune system to avoid rejection of the implant.

The Result
Nearly three weeks after the surgery, the girl is acting playfully with her doctors and nurses, at one point smiling and waving goodbye to a group of visitors.

Paolo Macchiarini has created windpipes for other patients. 
Dr. Macchiarini has performed the five other windpipe implants similar to Hannah’s. One patient, an American man who was operated on in Stockholm, has died. An Eritrean man has lived the longest so far, surviving for about 2 ½ years since the surgery.

Tags: stem cell generated windpipe, artificial windpipe, stem cell created windpipe, stem cell based windpipe