Hannah Warren was born in 2010 with a rare condition known as tracheal agenesis, which means that her trachea failed to develop. For the past two years, she has been living in an ICU in Seoul, South Korea, unable to eat, drink or breathe on her own. Now, thanks to stem cells from her own body, Hannah has been able to grow a new trachea – making her the youngest person ever to receive this type of treatment.
Scientists created a plastic scaffold on which stem cells extracted from Hannah’s hip bone were placed. In less than a week, the cells had multiplied and formed a new trachea that measures about 3-inches long. This new windpipe was then placed in Hannah’s throat during a 9-hour procedure, which doctors declared a success. Although she is still on a ventilator right now, doctor’s expect her to be able to go home and live a normal life.
Hannah’s parents heard about the procedure, but weren’t able to afford the costs associated with it, which could run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, an Italian surgeon working out of Stockholm Sweden, had performed the surgery successfully a number of times, but the couple couldn’t afford to take Hannah there. So doctors arranged to have the surgery performed in the US, where the Children’s Hospital of Peoria, Illinois agreed to waive its fees for the surgery. The couple also raised money using GiveForward to help defray ongoing medical costs.
Scientists have used the same technology to create veins, bladders and other soft tissues, and they hope to be able to create solid organs like livers and hearts in the future.
Via News Daily
Iimages from Help Hannah Breathe