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Swedish Doctors Implant Worlds First Stem Cell Vein

Swedish Doctors Implant Worlds First Stem Cell Vein

Young girl gets worlds’ first stem cell vein implant…

Swedish surgeons have successfully implanted a vein, grown from stem cells, in a 10-year-old girl whose life was at risk from a �?blocked hepatic portal vein.’

The rare condition blocks the blood flow of the portal vein which runs through the abdomen carrying blood from the bowels and other organs to the liver and this can lead to liver disease, heart failure and cancer. It may also cause weight-loss nausea and chronic pain.

While medical experts note the procedure has only been accomplished in one patient, they agree that it could open the door for similar techniques that could be used to treat a wide range of conditions.

To perform the procedure the transplant team from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden took a segment of the groin vein from a dead donor and stripped it of all living cells to leave behind a matrix on which the stem cells could grow. The stem cells were then taken from the girl’s own bone marrow and injected into the matrix. After two weeks of incubation, the new vein graft was ready to implant in the girl.

human bone marrow stem cells 550x413 Swedish Doctors Implant Worlds First Stem Cell Vein

Human Bone Marrow Stem Cells Were Used To Grow The Vein

Image Credit: Chinmaya Mahapatra, 2011.

The procedure went without complications and immediately restored normal blood flow. A year later the girl grew taller and gained weight. This caused her blood flow to drop again and a second procedure was performed. Once again the operation had immediate effect.

Since the surgeries the girl’s quality of life has improved considerably and she is now able to take long walks and take part in light gymnastics.

She is also showing no signs of rejecting the vein, even though she is not taking immunosuppressive drugs.

Dr. Michael Olausson, of Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg wrote in the journal:

The new stem cells-derived graft resulted not only in good blood flow rates and normal laboratory test values but also, in strikingly improved quality of life for the patient…

“The work also establishes the feasibility and safety of a novel paradigm for treatment, in cases of venous insufficiency, obstructed veins or inadequate autologous [from the patient] veins. [MSN]

Dr. Scott Pilgrim, an attending pediatric cardiologist at Steven and Alexandra Cohen Childrens Medical Center of New York, in New Hyde Park, said that if that procedure could be successfully replicated in a larger controlled trail it could be a �?watershed moment in developing new novel strategies for vascular and cardiothoracic surgeons,’ and that is the veins are capable of continued growth in a child, the technique could be easily applied to treat congenital heart disease.

The team hopes in the future the �?grow-your-own’ approach may replace the need for mechanical heart valves and the use of blood-thinning drugs.

The Sahlgrenska University Hospital team’s paper was published online June 14 in The Lancet.

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