Thursday, November 20, 2008

Medical Breakthrough

Thanks to Philip Chu, of Hong Kong, who sent us an article about the world's first-ever whole organ transplant grown from the patient's own stem cells. This innovative procedure offers real hope for Thien Nhan's genital reconstruction and leg in the future.

Professor Martin Birchall, one of the surgeons who implanted a new windpipe in a 30-year-old Spanish woman, said: "This is just the beginning... In 20 years' time the commonest surgical operations will be regenerative procedures to replace organs and tissues damaged by disease with autologous [self-grown] tissues and organs from the laboratory. We are on the verge of a new age in surgical care."Professor Birchall said the technique could initially be extended to growing other hollow organs such as the bowel, bladder and reproductive tract but could later be extended to solid organs.

The new technique of customising organs so that they are indistinguishable from the body's own tissues not only overcomes the problem of rejection but also greatly extends the range of organs and tissues that can be transplanted. Transplant of many body parts, such as limbs, has been restricted by concerns over immunosuppression.

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