Spain windpipe transplant success

Mother receives windpipe with tissue grown from her own stem cells in medical first.

    Castillo had breathing problems due to tuberculosis which had caused the collapse of her left lung [AFP]

    Lung removal

    After a severe collapse of her left lung in March, Castillo needed regular hospital visits to clear her airways and was unable to take care of her children.

    Doctors initially thought the only solution was to remove the entire left lung. But Dr Paolo Macchiarini, the head of thoracic surgery at Barcelona's hospital clinic, proposed a windpipe transplant instead.

    Stem cells used for organ transplant
    Once doctors had a donor windpipe, scientists at Italy's University of Padua stripped off all its cells, leaving only a tube of connective tissue.

    Meanwhile, doctors at the University of Bristol in the UK took a sample of Castillo's bone marrow from her hip.

    They used the bone marrow's stem cells to create millions of cartilage and tissue cells to cover and line the windpipe.

    Experts at the University of Milan then used a device to put the new cartilage and tissue onto the windpipe.

    The new windpipe was transplanted into Castillo in June.

    Health 'excellent'

    So far, Castillo has shown no signs of rejection and is not taking any immune-suppressing drugs, which can cause side effects like high blood pressure, kidney failure and cancer.

    Castillo's doctors say she is now able to take care of her children, and can walk reasonable distances without becoming out of breath.

    Macchiarini describes the state of Castillo as "excellent" and says that if she maintains her current health he will be the "happiest doctor in the world".

    People who might benefit from this kind of treatment include children born with defective airways, people with scars or tumours in their windpipes, and those with collapsed windpipes.

    It is also thought possible that the technique could be adapted to other organs such as the the bowel, bladder, or reproductive tract.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.