Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Congratulations, Europe!

(Most information is from this article, but I've incorporated some knowledge from my high school biotechnology class.)

Following several weeks of preparation at the universities of Barcelona, Spain, Bristol, England and Padua and Milan in Italy physicians have completed the first successful transplant of a human windpipe, using the patient's own stem cells to reduce greatly the chance of rejection.

Preparation included extracting a three inch segment of trachea from an organ donor, "stripping" the trachea of cells from its previous host, removing stem cells from the recipient's bone marrow, growing an ample amount of these stem cells, and incorporating the stem cells into the trachea segment. This graft was used to replace the recipient's damaged windpipe.

This transplant is special for two reasons. There is minimal risk of rejection because the recipient's stem cells replaced the donor's. And, the stem cells were not embryonic stem cells. Many of those opposed to stem cell research object specifically to the use of embryos in the stem cell incubation process.

I am so impressed. Victory!

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