Thursday, November 20, 2008

Breath easy with stem cells

A mind-blowing report of a transplanted tissue-engineered trachea is making news headlines around the world. Claudia Castillo is a 30-year-old Colombian woman who is breathing easily because of a trachea transplant grown using her own stem cells. Consider how hard it must be to isolate stem cells from three different parts of Claudia's body (hips, lungs, nose) , keep these cells sterile and seed them onto a natural tracheal scaffold isolated from a dead donor. Because the stem cells were her own and because they coated the donated tracheal scaffold, the hybrid tissue (containing donor scaffold coated with 'self' stem cells) was not rejected. A real-time video explaining the background to this story can be found at the following link:

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