While the United States continues to lag behind other countries in terms of stem cell research, doctors in Sweden are using stem cell science to save lives. This week a group of doctors in Sweden saved a 10-year-old by implanting a 3.5-inch section of a groin vein that was taken from a deceased donor.
The living cells were removed leaving a scaffolding of sorts at which point stem cells from the girl’s own bone marrow were injected onto that tubing. After two weeks doctors implanted the new blood vessel. Once the process was completed normal blood floor resumed and a second graft was later conducted as the initial blood vessel narrowed.
The surgery was necessary after the young girl’s vein that drains blood from the intestines to the liver became obstructed, a diagnosis that could have been fatal.
According to Reuters the success of this pioneering surgery could eventually lead to further advanced in stem cell technology. Among possible future uses could be grafts for heart bypass and dialysis patients who have had blood vessels compromised because of their disease.
According to one of the teams doctors:
“I’m very optimistic that in the near future we will be able to get both arteries and veins transplanted on a large-scale.”
Stem Cell research has shown huge progress in helping patients over the last decade and with yet another successful use for the stem cells its likely researchers will continue to further explore the use of such cells in a variety of ways.