Artificial Vein Created Out of Stem Cells Saves A 10-Year Old Girl’s Life
By on June 15th, 2012

The stem cell revolution is doing exactly what had been predicted of it – saving lives of patients with rare diseases. A 10-year old Swedish girl, suffering from a blockage of a vein in the liver (medically ‘extrahepatic portal vein blockage’), is the first recipient of a major vein replacement using stem cells.

Stem Cell (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Stem Cells are cells capable of specializing into cells with very specific functions. Stem cells can thus be used to regenerate any part of the body, proving invaluable to treatment of cancer – or even vein blockages.

The Operation

Associated Press reported the story saying that the vein replacement using stem cells was the alternative to a liver transplant. A 9-cm vein was taken from a dead man and stripped of all living cells. Only the protein remained, devoid of any genetic information. This was then grafted with the stem cells extracted and harvested from the girl’s bone marrow. The graft became a vein exactly identical to one made by the girl’s body within a period of two weeks of so. This was planted into the patients body after removing the offending blocked vein.

No post-operative complications

There have been no complications accompanying the surgery. The biggest fear remains that of rejection. If the body’s immune system recognises the grafted vein as a foreign object, it will attack it, causing severe complications and even death. This happens during the first few days immediately after surgery and immunosupressant are prescribed to prevent this hyperactivity of the immune system.

In this present case, no immunosuppression was required. A liver transplant requires lifelong dependance on immunosuppresants.

The doctors measured the blood flow through the new vein and found it to be normal. This was confirmed using ultrasound.

The whole operation has been funded by the Swedish government.

The report: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)60633-3/fulltext
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Author: Debjyoti Bardhan Google Profile for Debjyoti Bardhan
Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.

Debjyoti Bardhan has written and can be contacted at debjyoti@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://www.facebook.com/leetammy.brewer Lee-Tammy Brewer

    Also note that once again the stem cells were NOT from fetal stem cells. Science has shown – and the media fails to emphasize for sake of pushing their PC agenda – that only non-fetal stem cells have provided us with amazing breakthroughs. When you hear of stem cell research that has worked, check out the background and you will find it had nothing to do with fetal stem cells. Just like in this case – the girls own bone marrow cells were used on an adult;s vein.

    Welcome to the miraculous age of science with Dark-Ages-era media reporting.

    BTW – I hate using the term fetus in this context since the use of this term also is a PC attempt to divert thinking/emotions from the truth that these “fetuses” are proven by all medical science fit the definition of a living human being. And modern society criticizes the ancient Romans, and monsters like Hitler for their cruelties!

 
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