Medical Miracles

I wanna go on the record here. Even with this health care law that is now in effect, there will be medical services available and even innovation. It’s not as if we have just descended into the dark ages where leeches* were common practice and a shot of whiskey complemented by an ash twig was considered anesthetic. We’ll still advance. Just not as fast as we might otherwise have.  Consider the fact that British doctors were able to transplant a trachea that would regenerate!

It would seem that medical miracles are all around us.  See, often times in transplants, one of the hardest challenges is in getting the body to accept the organ or tissue.  And this is AFTER the family has found a suitable donor.  Imagine the distress in finally having the opportunity to have your loved one have the chance at getting better only to have to suffer through the irony of his own body rejecting the tissue.

Well, with the advances of technology made possible by stem cell research, doctors have been able to finally make significant progress:

A British boy has undergone a groundbreaking operation involving the transplantation of a windpipe that is being regenerated inside his body using his own stem cells.

Now, I haven’t followed the stem cell debate in detail, but I certainly have come down in favor of this research.  The cells that are being used for research would be discarded anyway and further advances have been made to make it possible to use other cells of the body.  But what makes this truly amazing is that the boy is using his OWN cells to build his new trachea:

The operation, which lasted nearly nine hours, involved the removal of the boy’s faulty trachea — the bony tube that connects the nose, mouth and lungs — which was replaced with a donor windpipe.

The organ had been stripped of the donor’s cells to leave a fibrous collagen scaffold that was injected with the child’s stem cells.

I mean, this is seriously cool, as in WAY cool, stuff.  That they can transplant a trachea, AFTER having stripped off stem cells so that the boy can use his own to regenerate the organ?  Truly, truly, Amazing.

Go world.

*While in Seattle a friend of mine was in a car accident.  The steering wheel really did a number on his face including his lip.  While the doctors were able to sew it back together, they were unable to get the blood vessels to grow back and reconnect.  They prescribed leeches.  3 times a day, my buddy had a leech attached to his lip, where it sat for 30-60 minutes.  The chemicals secreted by the leech, combined with their natural actions, built those blood vessels back to the point this his ripped lip was fully healed.

Go God!

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