As one of a small elite team of global surgeons, Professor Martin Birchall at the UCL Ear Institute and colleagues are already performing ground-breaking procedures in regenerative medicine and have had great successes recently in rebuilding a larynx and the tracheas of a woman and a young boy using synthetic materials produced from stem cells and organ donation. These were landmark procedures in regenerative medicine, with both patients in excellent health two years’ later with no need for anti-rejection drugs.
Case Study: First child stem-cell trachea transplant
As one of a small elite team of global surgeons, UCL Professor Martin Birchall and colleagues have had great successes recently in rebuilding the trachea of a young boy using synthetic materials produced from stem cells and organ donation. This was a landmark procedure in regenerative medicine, with the patient in excellent health two years’ later with no need for antirejection drugs.
“Since the treatment plan for Ciaran was devised in an emergency, we used a novel mix of techniques that have proved successful in treating other conditions. To minimise delays, we bypassed the usual process of growing cells in the laboratory over a period of weeks, and instead opted to grow the cells inside the body, in a similar manner to treatments currently being trialled with patients who have had heart attacks. We need more research on stem cells grown deliberately inside the body, rather than grown first in a laboratory over a long time. This research could help convert one-off successes such as this into more widely available clinical treatments for thousands of children with severe tracheal problems worldwide.” Professor of Laryngology, Martin Birchall, UCL Ear Institute
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