A pioneering new operation conducted in Italy for a British teenager could possibly hold out hope for a number of cancer sufferers and their parents worldwide. A new windpipe grown from her own stem cells has freed the teenager from a rare form of cancer of the trachea.
This cancer patient would have died without the operation; however this new cancer treatment almost certainly saved her life. Tissue was taken from her nose and her bone marrow to create a new trachea for her which was biologically identical to the one ravaged by cancer.
The stem cells collected were grafted on to the cartilage of another trachea from a donor. The stem cells were used to grow a new trachea outside the body of the cancer sufferer, which is what sets apart this procedure from another similar procedure performed on a boy with juvenile cancer.
Since it was the teen’s own cells that were used, there was no requirement for any anti rejection drugs to be given either. This has given new hope for sufferers of cancer of the trachea, which, though rare, is a particularly difficult to treat condition; resistant as it is to chemo and radiation.