Good News From Medicine: Man Gets New Windpipe Made From His Own Stem Cells


Just beautiful!

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today the success of creating and transplanting a synthetic trachea into a cancer patient in Sweden:

Doctors have replaced the cancer-stricken windpipe of a patient with an organ made in a lab, a landmark achievement for regenerative medicine. The patient no longer has cancer and is expected to have a normal life expectancy, doctors said….

The patient in this case is a 36-year-old Eritrean man, identified by doctors as a father of two studying geology in Iceland. Surgery and radiation treatments failed to stem a cancerous growth in his windpipe.

When the tumor reached about six centimeters in length, it almost completely blocked the trachea, or windpipe, making it hard for the patient to breathe. …

The windpipe is a hollow tube, about 4.5 inches long, leading to the lungs. A key part of it is a scaffold—which functions like a skeleton for the organ—consisting of tissues such as cartilage and muscle. As a first step, a team led by Alexander Seifalian of University College London used plastic materials and nanotechnology to make an artificial version of the scaffold in the lab. It was closely modeled on the shape and size of the Eritrean man's windpipe.

Meanwhile, researchers at Harvard Bioscience Inc. of Holliston, Mass., made a bioreactor, a shoe-box-size device similar to a spinning rotisserie machine. The artificial scaffold was placed on the bioreactor, and stem cells extracted from the patient's bone marrow were dripped onto the revolving scaffold for two days.

With the patient on the surgery table, Dr. Macchiarini and colleagues then added chemicals to the stem cells, persuading them to differentiate into tissue—such as bony cells—that make up the windpipe.

About 48 hours after the transplant, imaging and other studies showed appropriate cells in the process of populating the artificial windpipe, which had begun to function like a natural one. There was no rejection by the patient's immune system, because the cells used to seed the artificial windpipe came from the patient's own body.

Gotta love the 21st century! 

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  1. I’ll take a dozen vaginas please.

    1. That’s not what that pic was?

      1. Ten times longer and a lot wider and i’d make it work:)

        1. You could replace your ears. Sure, you’d be deaf but getting the wax out would no longer be such a chore.

      2. Two vaginas diverged in a pinkish trachea,
        And sorry I could not shaft both
        And be one fornicator, long I stood
        And looked down one as far as I could
        To where it bent in the undercervix;

        Then took the other, as just as fair,
        And having perhaps the better claim,
        Because it was tangy and wanted wear;
        Though as for that the passing there
        Had worn them really about the same,

        And both that morning equally lay
        In leaves no step had trodden black.
        Oh, I kept the first for another day!
        Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
        I doubted if I should ever come back.

        I shall be telling this with a sigh
        Somewhere ages and ages hence:
        Two vaginas diverged in a trachea, and I-
        I took the one less traveled by,
        And that has made all the difference.

        For more information on the subject…

        1. You really Frost me.

        2. You are an artist Sugarfree. Truely talented.

  2. This is great news. This could give hope to burn patients as well. I wonder if this could also allow people to grow new teeth? All kinds of applications! Perhaps even grow new brain cells for people who have had brain damage [please, I am not intending this as joke].

    1. i outsourced my brain cells

    2. Teeth:…..rate-teeth

      I wonder what the old age health benefits would be for complete set of teeth vs. dentures?

  3. that is kind of spooky

    1. Why spooky? Is the pacemaker spooky?

      1. I fear the cyborgs.

      2. if it were a living thing grown out of my own flesh, then yes

  4. That is AWESOME.

  5. Awesome news.

  6. A shame the surgery didn’t happen in the US, but we know why that happened.

    Thanks FDA, you have almost killed the Biotech industry, another couple years and the company that made the wind pipe will be located in India.

    1. The US could leapfrog other countries in tissue engineering if the Gov would just let doctors run experiments on illegal aliens.

      1. Mende Mengele

        Fixed your name for you.

      2. How about using politicians instead? After all they are constantly saying that they want to serve the public interest.

      3. As long as the patients understood risks, that would be fine – but I would open it to everyone.

  7. Threats from the 22nd century?

    “I’ll grow you a new leg and beat you with it!”

  8. Get one of those growing for Hitchens, stat!

    1. The last few months of Republican-bashing and Libyan War-supporting have ruined what is supposed to be a mournful time for me.

  9. Excellent.


    1. No need to ban it, they haven’t approved it.

      You can only have government approved treatments.

      1. Yes, can’t have you getting well without FDA approval. Might show the whole thing to be a sham or something.

        1. TSA would never let you through with it anyways.

  11. Thank God we’re outlawing stem cell research. Everyone knows we don’t need anymore Eritrean/Icelandic Geology student fathers!

    1. Since this used the patents own stem cells they must have been adult stem cells and there was no ban on that, at least in the USA. Also the only ban in the US on fetal stem cells was for federal funding, you could still pay for the research with private money

      1. +1, there has never been a ban on ANY stem-cell research of any kind.

        1. +1 billion

          I hate the cluenessless on this issue. I think that it is simply bias. When people whine that we’re becoming a third world country because we are “banning stem cells,” they are really pissed that they can’t steal other people’s money to fund ventures the market won’t support.

    2. The procedure used “stem cells extracted from the patient’s bone marrow.” Not embryonic stem cells, which are (were?) the subject of the so-called “ban.”

  12. But it’s unnatural! We can’t rely on vainglorious western atheistic capitalistic “science” when there’s roots and shit around. Or Jesus. I can’t remember what kind of yuckist I am.

    1. As a non-swedish, non atheistic libertarian who does not support public fetal stem cell funding, I find your straw man pathetic. I’d offer to grow you a brain, but I don’t think your genes support that organ.

      1. Won’t somebody please think of the fetuses?!

        “I’d offer to grow you a brain, but I don’t think your genes support that organ.”

        Also, SCIENCE!

  13. imagine that. made from his own stem cells. we didn’t have to kill any tiny humans. fantastic.

    1. ^^This^^ +1

    2. As far as I know, no tiny humans have ever been killed for the sole purpose of getting fetal stem cells.

      1. *crack*


  14. What a relief!

    [tears off patch, taps down another Marlboro Red]

  15. This is the miracle, but the reality is that the real money will be made growing freakish shlong upgrades for celebrities.
    (Sigh)It’s the market at work, and I’m OK with that. “Bony cells” indeed.

    1. I suggest you read Steel Beach by John Varley. It opens with a biotech sex product PR press campaign and people routinely change back & forth between male and female genders through quick surgical procedures (some even go neuter which always bugged me for some reason)

      1. Yeah, all of Varley’s stuff in his 8 worlds timeline has lots of gender-swapping biotech weirdness. Getting a gender change seemed to be on par with getting a haircut in those stories. On the plus side, I did learn the word ‘merkin’ from The Barbie Murders.

        1. When I first read them I found the idea completely ridiculous and laughed hysterically. Then I thought, hey, I wouldn’t mind trying out a vag for a day.

  16. oh how I long for the days of vat-grown organs so I can live for a few centuries. We should be out of the recession by then, right?

    1. I’m holding out for a robot body instead.

      1. With the strength of ten gorillas.

        1. But only 5 feet tall.

          Why so small?

      2. Are you looking for the neo-cymek signup list? That’s to your left. Cogitor signups are to your right.

  17. I thought that was a pic of the amputated penis in it’s petrified state of ejaculation of the last guy to engage in relations with rectal.

  18. Let’s give the guy a few years to assess whether or not the transplant worked or not…if the tumor comes back or not.

    1. Or if a foot starts growing out of his neck.

      1. yeah but in the short term it is a 100% success. the man can breath now, a little action that is required for continuing life, on earth as we know it anyway.

    2. The transplant worked. If the tumor comes back, his cancer treatment failed, not the transplant.

  19. Two lungs and a liver please!

    And pass the hoochie on the left hand side, yeah boy!!

  20. I saw a program earlier this year, Nova, I believe, which featured this kind of research. They showed some pigeon lungs they had grown, breathing inside of a specimen jar. They also talked about how all you need is the framework and some stem cells from the donor – for the framework, they showed a pig heart that had had all the soft tissue washed away (with a chemical found in most shampoos, oddly enough). As the article says, with the framework and some stem cells you can grow a new organ which your body will not reject. Conceivably if you have a genetic fault you could take some of your stem cells, make the required changes and grow a new non-defective organ.

  21. Wait a minute, this didn’t involve embryo destruction so it didn’t piss off religious conservatives. Why would libertarians care about it in that case?

    1. *cough cough* I’m a libertarian but I would get agitated by embryo destruction… I know there’s not a whole lot of us, though…

      1. Agreed Valkyrie.

  22. Thank goodness this was done using the guy’s own stem cells rather than someone else’s. BODY PARTS (1991) teaches us what could happen otherwise.


      I guess we can’t depend on this future, then, :0(

  23. Now be a cooperative little bunny, and let me have your brain.

    1. Fear not, little bunny, I will replace it with a better model. You will be able to do integral calculus whilst munching your greens.

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