Second Patient Receives Seeded Synthetic Windpipe


Surgeons at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have implanted a second patient with a synthetic trachea formed from CT scans of the patient’s own anatomy and seeded with his own cells to minimise rejection risk.


The New York Times has reported the case of tracheal cancer sufferer Christopher Lyles, the first American to undergo implantation of a synthetic trachea seeded with stem cells from his own bone marrow.

The lead clinician was Dr Paolo Macchiarini a tissue engineering expert and director of the Advanced Center for Translational Regenerative Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm who has performed a dozen trachea transplants since 2008. Despite the potential to use donated tissues as grafts in cases such as this, donated tracheas are rare and according to Dr Macchiarini are never a perfect fit. In Mr. Lyle’s case, and in the case of an Eritrean man who is reportedly doing well after receiving a similar transplant last June, the synthetic scaffold is made using CT scans of the existing trachea to ensure it matches precisely.

Clinician comments

Of Mr Lyle, Dr Macchiarini said; “He went home in very good shape. What we did is surgically remove his malignant tumor. Then we replaced the trachea with this tissue-engineered scaffold.”

The Y-shaped scaffold, fashioned from nano-size fibers of a type of plastic called PET, was seeded with stem cells from Mr. Lyles’s bone marrow. It was then placed in a bioreactor and rotated to allow the cells to soak in.

The bioreactor is manufactured by Harvard Bioscience, a spokesman for whom said; “After two or three days, I think you can realistically call it tissue.”

Source: New York Times