It is a major scientific breakthrough and I wanted to recognize it as well as chronicle it here at Drishtikone. For the first time, in a commercial way at least, a body part has been created out of tissue from a person’s own stem cells. Here is the interesting procedure of how it was done:
To create the new windpipe, the team took a seven-centimeter (2.75-inch) segment of trachea from a 51-year-old who had died. Over a six-week period, the team then removed all the cells from the donor trachea, because those cells could lead to rejection of the organ after transplant.
All that remained of the donor’s stripped-down trachea was a matrix of collagen, a sort of scaffolding onto which the team then put Castillo’s own stem cells — along with cells taken from a healthy part of her trachea. Birchall had already taken Castillo’s stem cells from her bone marrow and grown them into a large population in his Bristol lab.
Four days after putting Castillo’s stem cells into the donor trachea, the team was able to perform the transplant operation at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona. Castillo had no complications from the operation and was discharged from the hospital 10 days later.
The traditional way to solve the issue of what this lady was suffering from – severe collapse of lung – was to remove her lung, which has had a high mortality rate. This could also lead to human cloning.
Interestingly, the Christian conservatives here in the US are using this surgery as an argument to fight against the Embryonic stem cell research.
I guess the biggest moral issue will now be human cloning from here on.