Stem: from the trachea to the brain, Macchiarini announces new projects
Milan, February 18 (Reuters) – In 2011, he entered the history of medicine in Sweden transplanting the first entirely artificial organ, a trachea bioingegnerizzata built in the laboratory and then coated with stem cells taken from the patient, in this way, there would need anti-rejection drugs. Now the Tuscan Paolo Macchiarini, professor of regenerative surgery at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, will use the same technique to ‘play’ more complex tissues and organs: diaphragm from the esophagus to the heart and lungs. And in rats and mice has already tried to regenerate even the brain.
The doctor announced its upcoming projects in Boston, during the annual meeting of the AAAS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The first event in the U.S. in March, when Macchiarini will operate for the first time in the world a child of two years was born without trachea from birth and forced to live in an intensive care unit, where he breathes through a tube inserted into the esophagus and connected directly to the lungs.
Macchiarini has been dubbed the ‘wizard trachea transplant’ when, in 2008 in Barcelona, he experienced for the first time his innovative technique based on the use of stem cells taken from the patient to cover the transplanted organ. Retrieved in Tuscany by Governor Henry Smith, then Regional Minister for Health, the surgeon returns several times protagonist of the national news. First in 2010 for a ‘failure’ chair as professor at the University of Florence – each with the result that ’emigrated’ to Karolinska, while continuing to operate Careggi Hospital – and again in September 2012, when out of a room operating the hospital in Florence, was placed under house arrest as part of an investigation by the Guardia di Finanza of Florence. Accused of attempted aggravated fraud and attempted extortion, Macchiarini resigned from Careggi and were revoked arrest. In Sweden, the Nobel Institute confirmed its confidence in the surgeon and his research projects.
“For every operation we learn something – says Macchiarini, whose technique in the latest version has been used to date for 5 trips – This means that we can develop and refine the method. We are also considering how to transfer our experience in other areas, such as neurology.’s goal is to maximize the potential for self-healing of the human body. ”
In addition to the intervention program in the next month in the United States on the child without trachea, the ‘superchirurgo’ announced at the AAAS meeting in Boston other futuristic projects. First is planning to perform a transplant esophagus bioartificial organ with muscles and therefore more complex than the trachea. In addition, experimental studies on rodents, Macchiarini and his research team have been investigating the possibility of replacing the brain tissue damaged by severe trauma such as car accidents, gun shots or surgery. The idea is to replace the injured tissue with a substance obtained using stem cells, thus preventing the neurological damage. So far the tests have been performed in rats and mice, and have produced positive results, provides the expert.
The last frontier, finally, get to recreate ‘test-tube’ vital organs such as the heart and lungs. On two occasions, for example, patients with severe refractory acute pulmonary insufficiency who received stem cell therapy, showing an immediate functional improvement. Although both eventually have died from the consequences of a failure multiorgan, the result obtained by cell treatment has produced according to Macchiarini the first evidence that the use of stem cells may represent a promising alternative to restore function of damaged organs. For a future of transplants without the need for donors.