The organ had been stripped of the donor’s cells to leave a fibrous collagen scaffold that was injected with the child’s stem cells.
The boy, who is aged 10, received the transplant hours later. Doctors said that the stem cells would begin to transform themselves into internal and external tracheal cells within his body over the next month. They added that their patient, whose identity is being protected, was doing well, breathing normally and speaking.
The use of the child’s own stem cells inside his body to build up the donor windpipe ensures that it is not rejected by his immune system. With a normal transplant, the risk of rejection would mean “damping down” the child’s immune system with suppressive drugs.
Addressing a press conference at University College London yesterday, the team of British and Italian scientists described the procedure as a breakthrough for its simplicity in using the “ideal laboratory” of the human body to rebuild the organ.
They also believe that one's own stem cells might be used as "patch-ups" to regenerate one's own damaged organs.
Makes me ask: Do we really need embryonic stem cells since we have our own and our own will work?