Man's New Windpipe is the World's First Synthetic Organ Transplant

By Valerie Ross | July 11, 2011 11:01 am


The synthetic trachea, just before implantation

What’s the News: An African man’s new trachea is the world’s first synthetic organ to be transplanted. Made from a polymer scaffold coated with the patient’s own cells, the windpipe seems to be working out well, more than a month after the surgery.

How the Heck:

What’s the Context:

  • Earlier windpipe transplants have also used tissues derived from the patients’ stem cells—but the tissues were grown on donor tracheae, not artificial scaffolds, meaning that a suitable donor was still needed for every transplant.
  • Building new organs from only a patient’s cells and manmade materials, however, could eliminate the need for donor organs altogether, a major benefit given the chronic shortage of organs and the number of patients who die while waiting for a transplant.
  • This transplant was also amazingly fast—two days to grow a trachea!—which is particularly good news for patients who are critically ill.

The Future Holds:

Image: University College London

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
  • ganesh

    Just amazing! This is biotechnology at its most fantastic. We just keep getting better at cheating death.

  • Martin

    A great discovery and an amazing service for the most needed. Congrats and many thanks for the scientists who made this happen.

  • http://www.ggd3e33.net afasfv rgda

    Your site is a gem, keep it up

  • Matt B.

    Not that this is your fault, and not that it really matters, but “African” is not very specific. It’s a big place, with two Congos and three Guineas, to say the least.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

80beats

80beats is DISCOVER's news aggregator, weaving together the choicest tidbits from the best articles covering the day's most compelling topics.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »