A few months ago we reported about the first artificial trachea transplant performed at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. A patient had a carinal tumor that extended to the lowest 5 cm of the trachea along with the bronchi, so removal alone couldn’t save the patient. The team of surgeons removed the affected area and replaced it with a synthetic engineered trachea. The project was headed by Professor Paolo Macchiarini. Now, five months later, the study and successful outcome has been published in The Lancet by the doctors who performed the procedure.
The successful outcome of this operation, involving a transplant made of stem-cell-seeded nanocomposite, provides proof of the viability of this approach. Macchiarini says this method offers advantages, like preventing rejection or use of immunosuppressive drugs by using the patient’s own cells. Also, the implant can be tailor-made for the patient, because it is artificially constructed.
Now the team of doctors has transplanted a second patient, a 30 year old male from Maryland, USA. He suffered from primary cancer of the airway and was given an artificial trachea as well. The bioartificial scaffold was made using a further developed technique. By continuing to improve this method, the research team hopes to extend its use to the lungs, heart and esophagus.
Press release: Unique method behind transplant of artificial trachea