Pioneering stem cell-based transplant technology is being developed and tested on new organs and tissues
Professor Paolo Macchiarini.
- The plan to operate on a 2 year-old girl in the USA in March. The girl was born without a trachea and has lived her entire life in intensive care, where she breathes through a tube placed in the oesophagus and connected directly to the lungs. Without a new trachea, she will never be able to leave the hospital. This will be the first time the procedure is conducted on a small child. It is also the first time the procedure will be conducted on an individual without a trachea - as previously, diseased organs have been replaced.
- There are also plans to transplant the oesophagus, an organ that is more complex than a trachea as it has muscles.
- In experimental trials on rats, the research team has investigated the possibility to replace brain matter that has been damaged by serious trauma sustained from events such as traffic accidents, gunshot wounds or surgery. The aim is to replace the lost brain matter with a cultivated stem cell based substance and in turn, avoid neurological damage. The experimental attempt that has been conducted on rats and mice has shown positive results.
- On two occasions, severely injured patients with acute refractory lung failure received stem cell based therapy showing immediate functional improvement. Although both patients died as a consequence of multi-organ failure, the result has provided the first evidence that stem cell therapy can be a promising alternative to restore function in certain damaged organs - without the need for them to be removed and replaced with healthy donor organs.
Monday 18 February 09:45 am - 11:15 am
Hynes Convention Center, Boston, room 207