To this day, the full potential of stem cells remains a mystery to many scientists, doctors, and researchers. However, it has already been used in treating countless medical conditions. In fact, it has been touted to be the best alternative for people who are in need of knee surgery replacements because there is no pain and it is non-invasive as well.
That being said, a recent news story broke out and it talked about a girl that was able to restore her trachea and ultimately saved her life- all with the use of stem cells!
A mother of 2 children, this 30-year old woman suffered from tuberculosis a few years’ back. Although she was cured of the disease, its effects were left behind; mainly her windpipe’s tissue got severely damaged.
For those of you who do not know, the windpipe or Trachea is the airway that leads to the lungs and it is the path where air goes in our bodies to the aforementioned organ.
Because of the severity of the damage, the woman had difficulty breathing and she needed the use of equipment just to help her survive.
She has two children, but she couldn’t take care of them because of her condition and it pains her that she cannot do anything about it, well, at least at that time.
Her doctors tried many things to somehow restore her windpipe, but all of them failed miserably. With only a glimmer of hope keeping her alive, there was this notion that could probably save her life, and that is with the use of stem cells!
Stem Cells for Tissue Repair
Seeing how dire the woman’s situation is, a group of medical professionals were pooled together to make use of the girl’s stem cells in order to restore her damaged windpipe.
What they did was they got the trachea from a donor who just recently died and they conducted the operation within the next two months. They first removed all traces of the donor’s cells from the trachea to ensure that it won’t get rejected by the woman’s body.
Next, the doctors extracted some of the stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow and they’ve cultivated it until it is ready to be used.
Then, they infused the trachea with the woman’s stem cells and they transplanted it to the patient’s body.
Long story short, after a few months, the woman is now livelier than ever and she can now take care of her two children more effectively! Not only was her windpipe restored, its activity was reportedly much better than other women of her age.
Why This Discovery is Significant
What happened to the girl and the successful restoration of her windpipe is just a telling sign that scientists and doctors can use stem cells in the repair and construction of severely damaged tissue.
Although it still needs further testing, at least we now know that these unspecialized cells are really capable of such, and probably so much more!