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Child gets home-grown windpipe transplant

Monday March 22nd, 2010

British surgeons have performed a revolutionary windpipe transplant procedure on a child for the first time, it has been announced.

The technique uses a patient's own bone marrow cells to create an organ in a laboratory.

The boy, aged ten, was reported to be breathing freely and speaking after the procedure at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, London.

The operation was pioneered in Spain a year ago when Claudia Castillo became the first patient. She is said to be still healthy.

The latest operation, at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, was the first on a child and the first in which the entire windpipe - or trachea - was replaced. It also involved growing the stem cells in the child's body rather than in a laboratory, as was done for Mrs Castillo.

Surgeons used a donor trachea stripped down to inert collagen and applied stem cells to it to rebuild the living elements.

The operation was performed because the child was afflicted with a windpipe that would not grow - and already had undergone several operations to relieve the problem.

Professor Martin Birchall, one of the doctors involved in the procedure, said has described the operation as "a real milestone".

He said: "Only a few hundred children and adults will benefit directly from this operation but we can immediately apply the technique in other settings. It will be many years before it replaces transplants but it is a serious step on the way."

Tags: Child Health | Transplant | UK News

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