- Dec 5, 2006
- Reaction score
2-year-old girl gets windpipe made from stem cells
A 2-year-old girl born without a windpipe now has a new one grown from her own stem cells, the youngest patient in the world to benefit from the experimental treatment.
Hannah Warren has been unable to breathe, eat, drink or swallow on her own since she was born in South Korea in 2010. Until the operation at a U.S. hospital, she had spent her entire life in a hospital in Seoul. Doctors there told her parents there was no hope and they expected her to die.
The stem cells came from Hannah's bone marrow, extracted with a special needle inserted into her hip bone. They were seeded in a lab onto a plastic scaffold, where it took less than a week for them to multiply and create a new windpipe.
The windpipe was implanted April 9 in a nine-hour procedure.
Holterman said Hannah will likely need a new windpipe in about five years, as she grows.
She breathes with help from a ventilator but no longer has a tube in her mouth that she'd lived with since shortly after birth, Holterman said. She's not yet able to eat normally, but doctors let her have her first taste ever of food — a few licks on a lollipop. Her father said she already has discriminating taste and prefers chocolate Korean lollipops to the American kind.
"I asked her, 'Is it good?'" he said, "and she immediately nodded her head."