Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Stem-Cell Trachea Transplant

In a transplant first, doctors in Spain gave Claudia Lorena Castillo Sanchez, 30, a new windpipe, constructed from a donor trachea lined with Sanchez's own stem cells. It's the first time a patient's adult stem cells, extracted from bone marrow, have been used to seed a new tissue or organ for transplant. Because the donor trachea was stripped of cells that could cause rejection, Sanchez, who suffered from tuberculosis and lost function of one branch of her trachea, avoided having to take the powerful immunosuppressant drugs that transplant patients normally require. Doctors expect that this type of transplant, which is still experimental, will need several more years of study before it becomes widely used. But Sanchez, for one, is happy she didn't have to wait that long; the mother of two is already back to work and enjoying dancing six months after her operation.