In Wake Forest, NC, he said, doctors have been making similar attempts, but with bladders, in children since the early 2000s. The first few weren’t perfect, as with our patient, but incrementally, studying each case in depth, he’s getting each one better and better, Dr. Birchall said. And now he’s getting good results in both children and adults.
Explore This IssueNovember 2009
Still, there are no guarantees, even at this stage. Maybe she’s going to stenose tomorrow, he said. I can’t tell you that’s not going to happen. However, what we mustn’t do is give up.
He said he hopes that eventually transplantations can become effective in children. Some are written off from the time of birth because of no trachea or inadequate trachea, he said. So that’s where we are. It may not be the answer, but we think it’s a start.
The case received rave reviews from experts in the audience. Martin Birchall has really pushed the frontier, said Dana Thompson, MD, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at the Mayo Clinic. It’s pretty remarkable stuff.
She said it is a breakthrough that could mean new possibilities for patients who have few choices left. Sometimes you run out of options, where you can only resect so much of a person’s trachea and still have someone breathe, she said.
Thomas Gilbert, PhD, Research Assistant Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh and a faculty member at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, said it was groundbreaking.This was definitely a landmark transformational study, he said. The trachea is really the perfect model system to look at some of the translational aspects of tissue engineering, in large part because of its low-oxygen needs, meaning there is less worry about cell viability.
Dr. Gilbert also commended the collaboration that was involved. They were bridging international boundaries to get this done, he said. The fact that this patient is out a year now, he added, is really a testament to the technology.
©2009 The Triological Society