Family & Life, an independent pro-life organization in Ireland, reports on the latest medical innovation involving the use of adult stem cells: a boy in Northern Ireland became the first child to undergo a successful trachea transplant.
The 11-year-old underwent the operation which involved the removal of his trachea and its replacement with a donor windpipe at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Doctors used stem cells from the boy’s bone marrow to build up the donor windpipe and ensure the organ was not rejected. Four weeks ago, they were able to describe the transplant as a success after proving blood supply had returned to the trachea….
Ciaran’s transplant took place four weeks after a donor trachea was found. The surgical team was led by Prof Martin Elliott, who said, “Ciaran is a wonderful boy and a great friend to us all. His treatment offers hope to many whose major airways were previously considered untreatable.”
Even the mainstream media is noticing the rapid advances adult stem cell therapy is making, and the comparatively modest pace of research on embryonic stem cells. Here’s the Los Angeles Times, two weeks ago:
For all the emotional debate that began about a decade ago on allowing the use of embryonic stem cells, it’s adult stem cells that are in human testing today. An extensive review of stem cell projects and interviews with two dozen experts reveal a wide range of potential treatments.
Some of the new approaches, like the long-proven treatments, are based on the idea that stem cells can turn into other cells… But for other uses, scientists say they’re harnessing the apparent abilities of adult stem cells to stimulate tissue repair, or to suppress the immune system.
“That gives adult stem cells really a very interesting and potent quality that embryonic stem cells don’t have,” says Rocky Tuan of the University of Pittsburgh.