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First Synthetic Organ Transplant

trachea

Could the success of synthetic organ transplants lead to the donor’s list becoming obsolete? While it’s still too early to tell, the first trial of a synthetic trachea transplant leaves surgeons hopeful. Via BBC News:

I’ve held a few strange body parts in my hands over the years – all I should stress, in the line of work. They have ranged from mechanical heart pumps to hi-etch prosthetic limbs.

But none more life-like than the synthetic trachea manufactured by scientists from University College London. The team, lead by Professor Alex Seifalian, have patented a nanocomposite material which was used to create the first completely synthetic windpipe.

It was transplanted into a patient whose own windpipe was damaged by cancer. The operation was done in Sweden at the Karolinska University Hospital in conjunction with the Karolinska Institute. You can read the background to the story by my colleague Michelle Roberts, who interviewed the patient and the surgeon in Stockholm.

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