World-wide operation performed with stem cell technology

Stem Cell Technology:

For the first time in the world, the researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy have produced a blood vessel of stem cells that has been used in an operation by a ten-year-old girl at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital. With the help of this blood vessel, the surgeon / professor Michael Olausson could create a new connection between the liver and the intestine, which was necessary to cure the girl. The girl is doing well today and the forecast is considered very good.

The girl has since the first year of life lived with a stopper in the vessel that carries blood from the intestinal package to the liver. This means that you run the risk of having life-threatening bleeding. The condition can be cured if one manages to lead the blood right, that is, back into the liver. The operation can at best be performed with vessels from other parts of the body of the patient, but can lead to liver transplantation if the surgery fails to have enough blood vessels. Liver transplantation involves lifelong treatment with immunosuppressive drugs.

In the present case, blood vessels from a deceased donor were used. The vessel was then chemically treated to remove all cells and genes. Only remained supportive. Subsequently, stem cells were taken from the girl’s bone marrow and these were added to the support tissue. For just under four weeks, a new vessel grew. This was used in the operation to create the new connection between the liver and the intestine which was necessary to cure the girl.

The operation that was carried out just over three months ago has gone well without any significant complications and is thus what we know of the first of its kind in the world with this technique. The girl is doing well today and we judge the forecast as very good. Since the vessel is made by the girl’s own stem cells, she does not need any medication to avoid rejection, says surgeon Michael Olausson at the Transplantation Center and professor at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

The procedure shows that it is actually possible to produce new blood vessels with a previous blood vessel as a template with stem cells. This can lead to the condition that the girl had suffered from now being cured more easily and with less risk to the patient. The result of this operation can also involve applications not only to the girl’s condition, but also to a number of other research areas.

The next step is to intensify research on the restoration of other organs and to develop the method on arteries, to help patients in need of dialysis and coronary artery surgery, but also whole organs, says Michael Olausson and adds:

Healthcare savings can also be very large, especially on the day when, for example, kidneys can be produced in this way, as the entire drug use will decrease dramatically. For the patient, this also means that side effects of the drugs that must be given today are completely avoided.

For more information contact:

Michael Olausson, Professor at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg and Head of Operations, Transplantation Center Sahlgrenska University Hospital, mobile +46 70-543 43 60, phone +46 31 342 70 25.

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