Cool Human Stuff

Patient receives first ever synthetic organ transplant.

A view of an operation, during which the patient was given a new trachea (windpipe) made from a synthetic scaffold seeded with his own stem cells, at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, Stockholm June 9, 2011. REUTERS/Karolinska University Hospital/Handout via Scanpix

by LF Press:

The day may be coming when there are no waiting lists for organ donation.

Surgeons at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm performed the first transplant of a synthetic organ, which was a windpipe made using the patient’s stem cells and a artificial scaffold.

“This is an absolute breakthrough, no doubt,” the chief medical officer at Trillium Gift of Life Network Dr. Jeff Zaltzman said.

Scientists created a glass mould of the patient’s windpipe which was coated with polymer with millions of tiny holes.

The patient’s bone marrow and cells from his nose were then applied to the mould, which was then put in a bioreacteor to set for two days.

“For the first time in history, a patient has been given a new trachea made from a synthetic scaffold seeded with his own stem cells. The patient, a 36-year old man, is well on the way to full recovery and will be discharged from the hospital,” the Karolinska University Hospital website said.

The website said the operation was performed June 9 in Sweden, led by professor Paolo Macchiarini of the Karolinska University Hospital, which follows extensive research for the windpipe transplantation that started in 2008.

Patients who need a transplant may not have to wait long before an organ can be built for them, Zaltzman said. “The principle would be the same to build an artificial organ,” he said.

“A windpipe is not really an organ that has a function. It would be simpler to do than a heart, lungs or a kidney but I would love to see that day come,” Zaltzman said.

LF Press

One small step for man, one giant leap towards the fountain of youth.