First ever child recipient of novel stem cell trachea 'doing well'

Thirteen-year-old Ciaran Finn-Lynch, the teenager who made medical history in 2010 by having his throat rebuilt with his own stem cells, is making a successful recovery according to his doctors, BBC News reported.

Finn-Lynch, from Castleblayney in North Ireland, was hailed as the first child to undergo the novel tracheal transplant.

Born with a condition known as long-segment tracheal stenosis – when more than two-thirds of the trachea’s cartilage are misshapen and do not grow – Finn-Lynch had a very difficult time breathing.  He underwent the surgery in a desperate attempt to save his life, BBC News said.

Since undergoing the operation at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, Finn-Lynch has grown more than four inches and has returned to school, according to his doctors.  Since the stem cells used to build the trachea were his own, he is able to live a normal life without having to take medication to prevent rejection of his transplant.

A follow-up report in the Lancet detailed the procedure and explained how the new organ had strengthened over the years.

The original procedure involved “seeding” stem cells taken from Finn-Lynch’s bone marrow into a collagen “skeleton” of windpipe from a donor, BBC news reported.  These stem cells formed a brand new trachea that was then implanted into his body, allowing its cells to grow and mature naturally.

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