Navigation Links
Adult stem cell breakthrough

The first tissue-engineered trachea (windpipe), utilising the patient's own stem cells, has been successfully transplanted into a young woman with a failing airway. The bioengineered trachea immediately provided the patient with a normally functioning airway, thereby saving her life.

These remarkable results provide crucial new evidence that adult stem cells, combined with biologically compatible materials, can offer genuine solutions to other serious illnesses.

In particular, the successful outcome shows it is possible to produce a tissue-engineered airway with mechanical properties that permit normal breathing and which is free from the risks of rejection seen with conventional transplanted organs. The patient has not developed antibodies to her graft, despite not taking any immunosuppressive drugs. Lung function tests performed two months after the operation were all at the better end of the normal range for a young woman.

The pan-European team from the universities of Barcelona, Bristol, Padua and Milan report on this pioneering work in an article published early online and in an upcoming edition of The Lancet.

The loss of a normal airway is devastating, but previous attempts to replace large airways have met serious problems. The 30-year-old mother of two, suffering from collapsed airways following a severe case of TB, was hospitalised in March 2008 with acute shortness of breath rendering her unable to carry out simple domestic duties or care for her children. The only conventional option remaining was a major operation to remove her left lung which carries a risk of complications and a high mortality rate.

Based on successful laboratory work previously performed by the team, and given the urgency of the situation, it was proposed that the lower trachea and the tube to the patient's left lung (bronchus) should be replaced with a bioengineered airway based on the scaffold of a human trachea.

A seven-centimetre tracheal segment was donated by a 51-year-old transplant donor who had who had died of cerebral haemorrhage. Spain has a policy of assumed consent for organ donation. Using a new technique developed in Padua University, the trachea was decellularised over a six-week period so that no donor cells remained.

Stem cells were obtained from the recipient's own bone marrow, grown into a large population in Professor Martin Birchall's lab at the University of Bristol, and matured into cartilage cells (chondrocytes) using an adapted method originally devised for treating osteoarthritis by Professor Anthony Hollander at the University of Bristol.

The donor trachea was then seeded with chondrocytes on the outside, using a novel bioreactor which incubates cells, developed at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, allowing them to migrate into the tissue under conditions ideal for each individual cell type. In order to replicate the lining of the trachea, epithelial cells were seeded onto the inside of the trachea using the same bioreactor.

Four days after seeding, the graft was used to replace the patient's left main bronchus. The operation was performed in June 2008 at the Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, by Professor Paolo Macchiarini of the University of Barcelona.

Professor Macchiarini, lead author on the paper, said: "We are terribly excited by these results. Just four days after transplantation the graft was almost indistinguishable from adjacent normal bronchi. After one month, a biopsy elicited local bleeding, indicating that the blood vessels had already grown back successfully".

Martin Birchall, Professor of Surgery at the University of Bristol, added: "Surgeons can now start to see and understand the very real potential for adult stem cells and tissue engineering to radically improve their ability to treat patients with serious diseases. We believe this success has proved that we are on the verge of a new age in surgical care".

Anthony Hollander, Arthritis Research Campaign Professor of Rheumatology and Tissue Engineering at the University of Bristol, concurred: "This successful treatment manifestly demonstrates the potential of adult stem cells to save lives".

The patient, Claudia Castillo, a young woman from Colombia but now living in Spain, had no complications from the operation and was discharged from hospital on the tenth post-operative day. She has remained well since and has a normal quality of life. She is able to care for her children, walk up two flights of stairs and occasionally go out dancing in the evenings.

She said: "Above all I would like to thank Dr. Macchiarini and his medical team who did the research, for the time and dedication they devoted to my case to make sure that everything turned out alright."


Contact: Cherry Lewis
University of Bristol

Related biology news :

1. SNPs affect folate metabolism in study of Puerto-Rican adults
2. Scripps research scientists identify compounds for stem-cell production from adult cells
3. Turtle doves commit adultery
4. Efavirenz-based initial therapies associated with better outcomes in HIV-infected adults
5. NIH EUREKA award funds research at WPI aimed at turning adult skin cells into stem-like cells
6. Researchers discover atomic bomb effect results in adult-onset thyroid cancer
7. Adults who eat eggs for breakfast lose 65 percent more weight
8. Adult stem cells activated in mammalian brain
9. Childrens Memorial Hospital of Chicago receives a grant from BioMarin to support adult PKU outreach
10. Salk researchers reprogram adult stem cells in their natural environment
11. U of M researchers discover gene linked to adult-onset obesity
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... , Nov. 17, 2015 Pressure BioSciences, ... in the development and sale of broadly enabling, pressure ... life sciences industry, today announced it has received gross ... $5 million Private Placement (the "Offering"), increasing the total ...  One or more additional closings are expected in the ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 2015   Growing need for low-cost, easy ... been paving the way for use of biochemical ... analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and defense ... in medical applications, however, their adoption is increasing ... continuous emphasis on improving product quality and growing ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 09, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... to their offering. --> ... "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" or "the Company") ... for the quarter ended September 30, 2015. Amounts, ... and presented under International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"). ... said Andrew Rae , President & CEO ... not only value enriching for this clinical program, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Tampa, Florida (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... its biggest event of the year and one of the premier annual events ... USA, and ran from 8–11 November 2015, where ISPE hosted the largest number ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research services headquartered in ... company has set a new quarterly earnings record in Q3 of ... for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.   ... with the establishment of an Asia-Pacific office ... Kingdom and Mexico , with the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and ... to develop and pitch their BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their ... votes to win the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: