At age two-and-a-half, Hannah Warren has become the youngest person in history to receive a bioengineered organ transplant. Born without a windpipe, Warren received an artificial trachea made from her own stem cells. The artificial windpipe also contained a synthetic scaffold. Warren was both with a rare birth defect known as tracheal a genesis. She spent her whole life in a neonatal intensive care hospital unit in Seoul, South Korea. She was unable to breathe, swallow, eat, or drink on her own up until now.
After a nine-hour operation, the nano fiber mesh coated with her own bone marrow cells was implanted into her body. The procedures was performed on April 9th at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. Harvard Bioscience provided the artificial scaffold for creating the windpipe. This information was just made public earlier this week.
Doctors believe that Warren will be able to come home in a few months. She will be able to breathe, eat, drink, and swallow using the new windpipe. There is almost zero risk of rejection since the procedure was conducted using her own cells, not an organ donor.
“The ultimate potential of this stem-cell based therapy is to avoid human donation,” stated the lead surgeon, Dr. Paolo Macchiarini of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. He traveled to Peoria to perform the surgery.