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Woman Gets Transplanted Windpipe That Was Grown in Her Arm & Australian research paves the way for pig lung transplants

Gazing @ Orion
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05/04/2010 12:56 PM
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Woman Gets Transplanted Windpipe That Was Grown in Her Arm & Australian research paves the way for pig lung transplants
Belgian Woman Grows Transplanted Trachea in Her Forearm

Linda De Croock, a Belgian woman who had her throat crushed in a car accident a quarter-century ago, received one of the odder-sounding organ transplants we’ve ever heard: For two years, De Croock had a dead man’s windpipe growing inside her arm. Reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine, her doctors say they successfully implanted the donated trachea in her forearm and then moved it from there to where it belongs.

While the arm might seem a questionable place to put a windpipe, the point was to acclimate her body to the new organ and get her off anti-rejection drugs. Doctors at Belgium’s University Hospital Leuven implanted the donor windpipe in De Croock’s arm as a first step in getting her body to accept the organ and to restart its blood supply. About 10 months later, when enough tissue had grown around it to let her stop taking the drugs, the windpipe was transferred to its proper place [Canadian Press]. Since De Croock’s own tissue has grown around the windpipe, her body no longer considers it foreign and dangerous. A year has passed since the surgery to move the windpipe from her arm to her throat, and the doctors report she is doing well.

After the accident, De Croock originally had metal pieces installed to prop open her windpipe. But having metal do the job became worse and worse. “Life before my transplant was becoming less livable all the time, with continual pain and jabbing and pricking in my throat and windpipe,” the 54-year-old Belgian told The Associated Press in a telephone interview [Canadian Press].

This is the first time scientists have transplanted an organ as large as a trachea in this way—allowing it to acclimate inside the patient’s body before they set it in its proper location. Dr Pierre Delaere, the surgeon who led the team, said: ”This is a major step forward for trachea transplantation. Her voice is excellent, and her breathing is normal. I don’t think she could run a marathon, but she is doing well”

[link to blogs.discovermagazine.com]


Genetically Engineered Pig Lung Successfully Oxygenates Human Blood, Paving the Way For Transplants

MELBOURNE — Australian medical researchers said Tuesday they have made advances that could see pig lungs transplanted into humans within a decade.

Pig organs have previously been unsuitable for use in life-saving operations because they stop functioning once in contact with human blood.

But researchers at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne have been able to get around that problem after a separate team at St Vincent's Hospital used genetic modifications to remove one of the key rejection barriers.

"Respiratory physicians from The Alfred have shown that pig lungs can be perfused with human blood and successfully oxygenate the blood for an extended period of time," a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

"This has not been achieved before."

The research means that transplanting pig lungs into people with life-threatening illnesses may be possible in the future.

"The blood went into the lungs without oxygen and came out with oxygen, which is the exact function of the lungs," researcher Dr. Glenn Westall told Melbourne's Herald-Sun newspaper.

"This is a significant advance compared to the experiments that have been performed over the past 20 years."

The Alfred hospital said the advances show that, based on the models tested, transplantation could be successful.

"That noted, clinical trials are probably still five to 10 years away and there is still a significant amount of work to be done," the hospital spokeswoman said.

[link to www.google.com]

Last Edited by Gazing @ Orion on 05/04/2010 12:57 PM