First Successful Windpipe Transplant

on November 22, 2008

BBC News: “Windpipe Transplant Breakthrough” It’s a substantial victory in stem cell research—and a reminder that we don’t need to sacrifice life in pursuit of successful therapies.

Surgeons have, for the first time, successfully transplanted an entire organ grown using the patient’s own stem cells. Claudia Castillo, a 30-year-old Colombian who had tuberculosis, received the windpipe transplant in June and is in “perfect health.”

Using strong chemicals and enzymes, they “washed away” the donor’s own cells.

The project began when doctors acquired a windpipe from a recently deceased donor. Using strong chemicals and enzymes, they “washed away” the donor’s own cells, leaving a “tissue scaffold made of the fibrous protein collagen.”

They then used cells from Castillo’s original (injured) windpipe, along with stem cells from her bone marrow, to “coat” the donated windpipe scaffold. By the time the organic “construction” was done, the windpipe appeared and acted just like any other healthy windpipe.

Follow-up tests after the surgery showed the lab-grown windpipe to be virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding airways. It had also developed its own blood supply.

“We are terribly excited by these results,” said the surgeon, Paolo Macchiarini. Particularly inspiring is that the surgery required no anti-rejection drugs, and there are no signs of rejection even several months after the surgery.

Martin Birchall, a surgery professor at the University of Bristol who helped with the project, emphasized, “Surgeons can now start to see and understand the potential for adult stem cells and tissue engineering to radically improve their ability to treat patients with serious diseases.” Birchall added that within two decades, most organ transplants could be produced in the same manner.

This exciting success is a reminder that the medical promise of stem cell research does not require the harvesting and destruction of human embryos—the impression given by some proponents of embryonic stem cell research.

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us.

(Please note that links will take you directly to the source. Answers in Genesis is not responsible for content on the websites to which we refer. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.)


Get the latest answers emailed to you.

I agree to the current Privacy Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA, and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390