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To breathe again: A new windpipe through regenerative medicine

Regenerative Medicine offers extraordinary new options to doctors and patients. Recently a new windpipe was given to a patient with severe respiratory problems. This cutting-edge application for tissue engineering is one of many topics which will be addressed at the World Conference on Regenerative Medicine on October 29-31, 2009 in Leipzig.

29 October 2009 - 31 October 2009

There have been several reports over the last few weeks regarding the miraculous recovery of a Columbian woman who was implanted with a new windpipe created through tissue engineering. An international team succeeded in replacing this complex organ in June in Barcelona. Four months after the operation the new windpipe functions without complications and the patient is not required to take any medications for the suppression of rejection reactions.

Dr. Paolo Macchiarini from Barcelona, Spain who coordinated the implantation will be present at the World Conference on Regenerative Medicine (WRM), taking place on October 29-31, 2009 in Leipzig. He will give a comprehensive report regarding the success in this and other planned interventions and therefore will confirm the impact of tissue engineering on modern medicine.

The basis for the new windpipe was a seven centimetre long piece of a donor windpipe. All living cells on it were removed and only the scaffold was used for the subsequent steps. Cartilage cells from the patient were grown in a bioreactor and seeded on the scaffold. The inner surface was lined with endogenous epithelium cells from the 30 year old female patient. Afterwards the scaffold with the expanded cells was implanted into the patient.

Prof. Macchiarini together with Prof. Heike Mertsching from the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB originally established the foundation for this development which was presented in last years World Congress 2007. Fraunhofer IGB and a team from the Hannover Medical School were the first to successfully apply smaller (5cm) tissue engineered patches for the windpipe made from the patients own cells.

This windpipe replacement was able to prevent the removal of one of the womans’ lungs and opened an incredible new opportunity for long-term future health and vitality for her.

The WRM 2009 brings together important experts from different areas of regenerative medicine to discuss and develop new approaches for the treatment of widespread diseases and degenerative illnesses. Further reports regarding successful treatments for critically ill patients and clinical breakthroughs will be forthcoming.

Further information about the conference you can find on