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Doctors see adult stem cell milestone

WASHINGTON (BP)–British and Indian doctors have achieved a milestone in stem cell research, transplanting a new windpipe, or trachea, into a 10-year-old boy using his own non-embryonic, or adult, stem cells.

It marked the first time such a procedure has been performed in a child and the initial case of an entire trachea being transplanted, the UCL Institute of Child Health in Great Britain reported.

The transplant was conducted for a boy who has a rare congenital condition named Long Segment Tracheal Stenosis, which refers to a diminutive windpipe that will not develop. “It is like breathing through a straw and is a life threatening condition,” according to the institute.

Doctors stripped a donated trachea of the donor’s cells and injected stem cells from the boy’s bone marrow into the trachea shortly before implanting it in the boy, the institute reported.

Using the boy’s own stem cells prevents possible problems with transplant rejection.

The case, reported in mid-March, is another success for non-embryonic stem cells, which have produced therapies in trials for at least 73 ailments in human beings, according to Do No Harm, a coalition promoting ethics in research. Embryonic stem cell research, which results from the destruction of human embryos, has yet to generate successful treatments in human beings.
Compiled by Baptist Press Washington bureau chief Tom Strode.

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