Posted: Aug 18, 2011
Two different studies out in July illustrate interesting work using a patient’s own stem cells for medical therapy.
An international team of doctors in Sweden implanted the first stem-cell-made windpipe into a tracheal cancer patient. The organ was made from the man’s own stem cells and officials are calling it the first successful procedure of its kind.
Doctors say the patient had no other options after his late stage cancer had almost fully blocked his windpipe and they couldn't find a suitable windpipe donor.
"Because the cells used to regenerate the trachea were the patient's own, there has been no rejection of the transplant and the patient is not taking (anti-rejection) drugs," Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm said in a statement.
Separately, days later, U.S. doctors announced that tissue-derived stem cells may help patients who suffer from debilitating heart conditions. About 850,000 Americans suffer from persistent angina and don’t respond to available treatments.
"We believe this is an important milestone in considering whether the body's own stem cells may one day be used to treat chronic cardiovascular conditions," study author Dr. Douglas W. Losordo said in a written statement to CBS News.
The study, published in the journal Circulation Research, showed that angina episodes and exercise tolerance rates were improved in patients at six months and at one year post stem cell treatment compared to the control group.
Losordo told WebMD the treatment had "life-altering" effects for the stem-cell -treated patients.
"To put it in human terms, patients who might have been able to sit and watch TV without symptoms could now walk at a normal pace without chest pain, and someone who could walk at a slow pace might be able to ride a bike."