Vein grown from patient’s own stem cells successfully transplanted

Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports, “The first vein grown from a patient’s own stem cells was successfully transplanted into a 10-year-old girl, potentially offering a way for those lacking healthy veins to undergo dialysis or heart bypass surgery.”

The girl “had a blockage in the vein that carries blood from the spleen and intestines to the liver.” Physicians “took a 9-centimeter (3.5-inch) segment of vein from a human donor and removed all living cells, the Swedish researchers wrote in a study in The Lancet.”

The AP reports, “Using stem cells from the girl’s bone marrow, scientists grew millions of cells to cover the vein, a process that took about two weeks. The new blood vessel was then transplanted into the patient.”

Since “the procedure used her own cells, the girl did not have to take any drugs to stop her immune system from attacking the new vein, as is usually the case in transplants involving donor tissue.”

On its website, ABC News reports, “While a handful of doctors around the world have had success growing blood vessels and other organs and transplanting them into patients, doctors said this is the first time a vein has been lab-grown and successfully transplanted using cells and parts taken entirely from the human body.”

MedPage Today reports that in an accompanying editorial, Martin Birchall, MD, and George Hamilton, MD, both of University College London, contend that “the procedure is too long and complicated to ultimately succeed in the healthcare market or to be practical for larger numbers of patients.”

Although “promising, they wrote, ‘one-off experiences such as the procedure they describe need to be converted into full clinical trials in key target populations, and delivered via straightforward, quality-controlled production processes if regenerative medicine solutions are to become widely used and accepted.'”

This entry was posted in General Health. Bookmark the permalink.