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2-year-old girl gets windpipe made from stem cells

illinois seoul hospital create new windpipe normal life

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#1 Hum

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 14:03

A 2-year-old girl born without a windpipe now has a new one grown from her own stem cells, the youngest patient in the world to benefit from the experimental treatment.

Hannah Warren has been unable to breathe, eat, drink or swallow on her own since she was born in South Korea in 2010. Until the operation at a central Illinois hospital, she had spent her entire life in a hospital in Seoul. Doctors there told her parents there was no hope and they expected her to die.

The stem cells came from Hannah's bone marrow, extracted with a special needle inserted into her hip bone. They were seeded in a lab onto a plastic scaffold, where it took less than a week for them to multiply and create a new windpipe.

About the size of a 3-inch tube of penne pasta, it was implanted April 9 in a nine-hour procedure.

Early signs indicate the windpipe is working, Hannah's doctors announced Tuesday, although she is still on a ventilator. They believe she will eventually be able to live at home and lead a normal life.

"We feel like she's reborn," said Hannah's father, Darryl Warren.

"They hope that she can do everything that a normal child can do but it's going to take time. This is a brand new road that all of us are on," he said in a telephone interview. "This is her only chance but she's got a fantastic one and an unbelievable one."

Warren choked up and his wife, Lee Young-mi, was teary-eyed at a hospital news conference Tuesday. Hannah did not attend because she is still recovering from the surgery. She developed an infection after the operation but now is acting like a healthy 2-year-old, her doctors said.

Only about one in 50,000 children worldwide are born with the windpipe defect. The stem-cell technique has been used to make other body parts besides windpipes and holds promise for treating other birth defects and childhood diseases, her doctors said.

Macchiarini has been involved in 14 previous windpipe operations using patients' own stem cells - five using man-made scaffolds like Hannah's but in adults; and nine using scaffolds made from cadaver windpipes, including one in a 10-year-old British boy.

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#2 DocM

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 15:20

They've already bioengineered and/or printed bladdrts, blood vessels and bone replacements. Another outfit has printed a shert of liver tissue - not fully fjnctional but enough to test nes drugs on. Full function and a greater volume is being worked on.

Getting wild out there.

#3 Rippleman

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 15:27

and yet so many people (religious folk especially) are against this.... fools...

#4 McKay

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 15:30

and yet so many people (religious folk especially) are against this.... fools...


Of course, if it isnt specifically approved in a 2000 year old book written by hundreds of people, re-written at a later date, translated and miss-translated time and time again, edited by Emperors, Kings and other Rulers because they didn't like parts, then people who ignore most of the Bible anyway will condemn it, even though they don't follow vast swathes of it themselves.

The funny thing is these people, if their belief is true will end up in one of the inner circles of Hell, where hypocrites are sent.

#5 Slacker

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 15:47

What they're against is embryonic stem cell research because it always destroys a fertilized embryo which is considered to be human life. In the treatment this girl received, her own post-embryonic stem cells were used; this is completely acceptable as there is no loss of life, but a life preserved. Not all stem cell research and treatment is opposed, just those that kill embryos.

#6 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 15:50

What they're against is embryonic stem cell research because it always destroys a fertilized embryo which is considered to be human life. In the treatment this girl received, her own post-embryonic stem cells were used; this is completely acceptable as there is no loss of life, but a life preserved. Not all stem cell research and treatment is opposed, just those that kill embryos.


You'd be shocked at the number of people who don't know the difference, and many of them are really loud. To them stem cell research = dead baby, period. They don't have a clue what they're actually objecting about.

#7 DocM

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 15:56

It's not just (a very few) religious people, but slso those who feel this is the start of gen-modding humans and other issues.

The usual anti-genmod arguements apply; "master race", a reduction in genetic diversity, a weakening of the genome by allowing faulty genetic lines to perpetuate, etc. etc. etc.

IOW - it's not always about your usual favorite bugaboo, religion.

#8 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 18:37

Heh. We already allow faulty genetic lines to perpetuate, so I can't really see that as a valid argument. As for the rest, as long as they stick to repairing accidental damage or birth defects, that's fine. It doesn't mean that we're on the slippery slope to designer babies.

#9 Crisp

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 21:16

So when can I buy a made beef burger?

#10 DocM

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 00:00

It's been done, but it tastes bland. A lot of the tasty stuff is in the animal fats and residual cooked blood, not the proteins & cell matrix.

#11 DocM

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 00:06

Heh. We already allow faulty genetic lines to perpetuate, so I can't really see that as a valid argument. As for the rest, as long as they stick to repairing accidental damage or birth defects, that's fine. It doesn't mean that we're on the slippery slope to designer babies.


Perhaps so, but more than once the following has been shown true;

"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." (actually: good wishes & desires)
- St. Bernard of Clairvaux ~1150 AD

#12 OP Hum

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 00:36

It's been done, but it tastes bland. A lot of the tasty stuff is in the animal fats and residual cooked blood, not the proteins & cell matrix.


All plain meat tastes bland.

It's the salt, pepper, sauces, ketchup, mustard, spices, etc. that you add, that gives meat real flavor.

#13 Growled

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 00:41

Stem cell research holds such awesome potential. This is just the beginning.

#14 McKay

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 00:45

Me personally I'd want a balance if we're talking about "Designer Babies". Would I want it if it can guarantee the child will be born with no syndromes or conditions? Or contract a condition later on in life? Then yes I support that. Picking Childrens hair colours and eye colour etc? I don't support that.

#15 OP Hum

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 00:50

^ Nor do I support glow-in-the-dark humans. ;)