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Biotech Medicine Science

Successful Stem Cell Replacement of Windpipe 116

Posted by timothy
from the difficult-to-gasp dept.
thepacketmaster writes "In what is being hailed as a medical milestone, CNN reports a woman suffering from long-term tuberculosis had her lower trachea and bronchial tube replaced by tissue grown from her own stem cells. A team from the universities of Barcelona, Spain; Bristol, England; and Padua and Milan, Italy, decided to go ahead with the surgery instead of having to remove her left lung. The operation, reported Wednesday in the British medical journal The Lancet, has been hailed as a major leap for medicine that could offer new hope for patients suffering from serious illness."
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Successful Stem Cell Replacement of Windpipe

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  • !embryonic (Score:5, Informative)

    by jgtg32a (1173373) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:04PM (#25823475)
    I just feel like I should point this out before someone decides to go on a rant about embryonic SC.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fish_in_the_c (577259)

      which makes a reasonable argument against doing something morally questionable and that upsets lots of people, if you can get the same or better resaults without it.

      • Re:!embryonic (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:17PM (#25823653)

        There's nothing morally questionable about using embryonic stem cells, and just because it upsets certain people doesn't make it so.

        • Re:!embryonic (Score:5, Insightful)

          by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:19PM (#25823689) Homepage Journal

          Humm. So you decide what is moral and not for the planet?
          Interesting.....

          • Re:!embryonic (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:25PM (#25823783)

            If you believe that a dozen undifferentiated cells constitute a human being, that's your problem.

            • Men neighbours: [peering out of toilets] Every sperm is sacred [youtube.com] / Every sperm is great
              Women neighbours: [on wall] If a sperm is wasted
              Children: God get quite irate.

              Priest: [in church] Every sperm is sacred.
              Bride, Groom: Every sperm is good.
              Nannies: Every sperm is needed
              Cardinals: [in prams] In your neighbourhood!

              Children: Every sperm is useful / Every sperm is fine
              Funeral Cortege: God needs everybody's.
              First Mourner: Mine!
              Lady Mourner: And mine!
              Corpse: And mine!

            • by Nazlfrag (1035012)

              A dozen undifferentiated human cells constitute a human lifeform. If it's not human, what is it then?

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            Humm. So you decide what is moral and not for the planet?
            Interesting.....
            • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

              by philspear (1142299)

              Mods, that wasn't redundant, that was pointing out hypocrisy. "You can't decide what's moral for everyone! I'm the only one that gets to do that!"

              • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward

                Only it's not a hypocritical statement at all. LWATCDR and fish_in_the_c aren't claiming that it's amoral (that would be hypocritical); they're claiming that it's morally questionable.

                "Morally questionable" isn't a judgment call. It doesn't mean "sort of moral". It means people are questioning its morality, and you can find people who question the morality of embryonic stem cells in droves.

                • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

                  by philspear (1142299)

                  Semantic and moral arguments aside, the post (and now MY post) is not redundant, it had a unique point.

          • by X0563511 (793323)

            Yes. You didn't get the memo?

          • well, what is moral is moral and what is not is not.
            so, I don't have to decide anything for anyone, the facts will not change regardless of what i decide. We may disagree on what the facts actually are, but that is an entirely different discussion.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            Nope, I do~

          • Re:!embryonic (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:47PM (#25826189) Homepage

            Humm. So you decide what is moral and not for the planet?
            Interesting.....

            I'm going to wait to see who actually attempts to impose their opinion on someone else by either requiring or prohibiting some action before I say who thinks they decide what is moral and not for the planet.

            Oh that's right, I don't have to wait.

            • by FooAtWFU (699187)

              Right. The infants in question have already been Imposed Upon and foully murdered, obviously.

              ...

              ...

              (Disclaimer: This post is not meant to serve as a real criticism of the use of embryonic stem cells by equating them to murder. It is instead intended to point out that the notion of "imposing your opinion upon someone else" works both ways, the outstanding issue tracing itself back to the "is this a human with rights" question which is so fantastically controversial, and that as such attempting to paint one

              • by Chris Burke (6130)

                Right. The infants in question have already been Imposed Upon and foully murdered, obviously.

                (Disclaimer: This post is not meant to serve as a real criticism of the use of embryonic stem cells by equating them to murder. It is instead intended to point out that the notion of "imposing your opinion upon someone else" works both ways

                No, that's ridiculous. You are suggesting that embryonic stem cells are equivalent with murder, even if it's a Devil's Advocate position, because otherwise what you're saying mak

                • by FooAtWFU (699187)
                  I am pointing out that there are those who actually believe that embryos are people, and that people using that world view can say that those who are doing embryonic stem cell research are imposing their will upon other people (though admittedly not, as you pointed out in your original post, "through requiring or prohibiting some action", but rather by taking some action). However, the post was not meant to be an argument in support of that point of view (although it contained an argument for that point of
            • by LWATCDR (28044)

              You are correct. The person that is stating that embryonic stem cell research is with out a doubt moral is trying to impose their world view on others.
              I simply accept that there are diffing options on the subject.
              Now I do question on if it is ethical to put research money into embryonic stem cell research since adult stem cell research seems to be a much more productive line at this time. Since their is X amount of resources it would seem logical to put those resources into the area that has proven the most

          • by Greyfox (87712)
            The world doesn't give a damn about you. Do what you want. It's the same result in the end anyway, as far as I can see.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by AhtirTano (638534)
          The fact that you thinks its moral, and someone else thinks its immoral is exactly what makes it morally questionable. If you both agreed, it wouldn't be questionable anymore, it would be definitively moral or immoral.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            So if someone thinks allowing people with genetically inheritable diseases to produce offspring is immoral, does that make the entire idea morally questionable? I don't think so...
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              My wife and I decided to have another child, which we knew would be born by C-section and bottle-fed. Consequently, she was permanently banned from one of her parenting forums for making such an immoral and obviously unsafe decision.

              Pretty sure it's not, though.

              Believing something to be true doesn't make it true.
              • by Anonymous Coward

                Consequently, she was permanently banned from one of her parenting forums for making such an immoral and obviously unsafe decision.

                Is it possible she was banned for being a jerk about it? I can't imagine they'd even know if she didn't get into a flame war over it.

              • by Nutria (679911)

                Pretty sure it's not, though.

                Only if it's an involuntary choice.

            • by ArcherB (796902)

              So if someone thinks allowing people with genetically inheritable diseases to produce offspring is immoral, does that make the entire idea morally questionable? I don't think so...

              Not to drag the latest election into this.
              Looking at all the people that said Sarah Palin should have gotten an abortion... Yeah, I'd say that makes it morally questionable to some people.

              (An example would be Wonkette saying that Palin's Down-baby wishes it would have been aborted)

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by d3ac0n (715594)

                I know I'm probably going to get modded down for this, but it needs to be said:

                The only thing "questionable" about Wonkette saying what she said, is the question of how hard Wonkette should be Donkey Punched for saying something like that about somebody else's baby.

                I don't care what your political affiliations are, that is just VILE to say that someone's baby wishes they were aborted. I would expect that on /b/. Not from Wonkette.

                (Or maybe I SHOULD expect it. Is her site that bad on a regular basis?)

                Ok,

                • by geekoid (135745)

                  WHat is someone commits suicide, then can we say they would have wanted to be aborted?

                  Actually, this is the first I have heard of this.

                  • by ArcherB (796902)

                    WHat is someone commits suicide, then can we say they would have wanted to be aborted?

                    Actually, this is the first I have heard of this.

                    The quote goes as follows:

                    Little baby Trig must be so glad he wasnâ(TM)t aborted for this, his first Halloween, because his parents dressed him up like a political party symbol to be carried around at snarling political events. Aww. Isnâ(TM)t life just grand?

                    And HERE [wonkette.com] is the link.

                • by ceoyoyo (59147)

                  Wait, there's someone (presumably a woman) who calls herself wonkette? Hey, is she the crazy chick from the View who thinks that the world is flat and Christianity is the oldest religion?

          • by canajin56 (660655)
            Skinheads think it's immoral to allow white people to marry black people and pollute their racial purity. Therefore, it is a morally questionable practice?
          • The fact that you thinks its moral, and someone else thinks its immoral is exactly what makes it morally questionable. If you both agreed, it wouldn't be questionable anymore, it would be definitively moral or immoral.

            That's absurd. It's like saying that because some one is blind and has been told and now thinks that the sky is green thereby makes the sky is blue a questionable statement. If they are basing their argument on a false premise then it's invalid argument, and therefore there is nothing to question.

            • by AhtirTano (638534)
              The color of the sky is an empirical issue. We can look at it and know the answer. If nobody can look at it, then it remains an open question until someone can. Morals are not empirically observable. They are values decided upon by society. Therefore, you're entire analogy is fundamentally flawed and invalid.
              • My analogy is valid; your assertion is untrue.

                Anyone with a functional eyeball and an internet connection can look at an undifferentiated ball of cells [eccafe.org].

                People in my lab do this daily by looking at cancer tumors! Just as the sky is not green, a ball of cancer is not a human being. Further, just because the origin of a ball undifferentiated cells is different, doesn't make them any more human.

                If you feel differently, then you should tell your surgeon not to remove your cancer because it too could potentiall

                • by AhtirTano (638534)

                  By your logic, there is nothing wrong with forced abortions, because an embryo is just a mass of cells that "could potentially become a human with the right signaling factors and growth conditions." It is exactly the same as removing a tumor from a person without consent. That is just silly.

                  Observable facts inform our morals, but they do not decide them. You cannot derive should from is. Many people believe that because the natural course of embryonic stem cells leads to a human being, they should be consid

                  • Once again, you have reached a false conclusion, this time by way of in invalid argument.

                    Never did I state, or give you any indication that I agree with ANY forced medical procedure on an individual including a forced abortion. Further, you are convoluting the argument as forced procedures have nothing to do with whether or not a undifferentiated cells are a whole human. You are the one being silly, my argument is sound.

                    If you would like to diverge from the argument that undifferentiated cells are no
        • If the stem cell are gathered through the destruction of human embryos, not always the case, it is most certainly morally questionable.

          Unless of coarse either you believe human embryos are not human ( an oxymoron) or that the destruction of whole human beings is not morally questionable, neither of which are facts that hold up to objective scrutiny.

          Last I checked the beginning of the mammalian life cycle was well established.,
          Do you suggest some other objectively measurable criteria for establishing the hum

      • Re:!embryonic (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:30PM (#25823859) Homepage Journal

        which makes a reasonable argument against doing something morally questionable and that upsets lots of people, if you can get the same or better resaults without it.

        For specific areas where adult stem cells make sense and indeed have advantages that hardly needs saying.

        Of course you have to acknowledge that embryonic stem cells are different and may provide viable treatments in areas where adult stem cells won't work for some reason.

        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          You're wrong.

          He doesn't have to acknowledge anything, if he doesn't want to. That's what Slashdot is all about.
          • That's what Slashdot is all about.

            That and moronic, pointless posts that don't contribute anything to the area under discussion..

        • by Anonymous Coward

          > Of course you have to acknowledge that embryonic stem cells are different and may provide viable treatments in areas where adult stem cells won't work for some reason.

          We have many proven cases of adults stem cells being superior (because of rejection and because they're partially differentiated and therefore less likely to cause nasty things like teratomas [wikipedia.org]).

          While I'm willing to acknowledge that they might be a superior treatment, I would need medical evidence before making that conclusion.

          As best I can

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        which makes a reasonable argument against doing something morally questionable and that upsets lots of people, if you can get the same or better resaults without it.

        ... sure, if you ignore the fact that it was that "morally questionable" research which lead to the ability to do this. Without the embryonic research, the state of the art may have never progressed to the point where embryonic cells are not needed.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          > Without the embryonic research, the state of the art may have never progressed to the point where embryonic cells are not needed.

          Actually, the ban on using ESCs is probably what pushed the ASC treatment to this level. At the outset, scientists were always claiming that ESCs were better because they were fully undifferentiated and they were most eager to study those. But once they needed a replacement, they turned to ASCs and research since then has shown them to be the superior treatment option becau

      • Re:!embryonic (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:34PM (#25823951)
        From what some friends of mine at Bristol Uni have been saying, yes this was done with non-embryonic stem cells, but embryonic stem cells would raise the likelihood of success in such cases as they are more likely to adapt to the required level.

        And as to whether or not usage of embryonic stem cells is morally questionable, doesn't that depend on a huge set of variables, such as how the cells are harvested (you can save embryonic stem cells from the birth of a living baby for example), and your own personal beliefs?
        • Re:!embryonic (Score:5, Interesting)

          by HanClinto (621615) <hanclintoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:48PM (#25825289)

          but embryonic stem cells would raise the likelihood of success in such cases as they are more likely to adapt to the required level.

          IANAB (I am not a biologist), but if the possibility set of the patient-harvested polypotent stem cells include trachea cells, I don't see why you would need pluripotent stem cells in order for it to be a "success"?

          Sadly, your friends are wrong in that if embryonic stem cells had been used in this case, that it somehow would have had a higher chance of success. The very fact that the safer and stabler ASCs (adult stem cells) were used in this operation means that the patient won't reject the organ, and the patient won't get cancer. Embryonic stem cells are too unstable in their pluripotency for them to be usable, and always go cancerous (tumor rates is one of the measures that is used to determine how well the embryonic cells have been accepted by the test mice/rats -- more tumors means that more embryonic cells lived).

          you can save embryonic stem cells from the birth of a living baby for example

          Sorry, but you cannot harvest truly pluripotent cells without destroying the embryo. You can get polypotent ASCs that are very nearly the equivalent of pluripotent embryonic stem cells by using cord blood stem cells, but you cannot actually gain pluripotent stem cells without destroying the living organism.

          This is why many people (such as myself) are truly puzzled as to why so many people aren't more excited about ASC research -- it is usable today, and the cancer and rejection risks are so much lower than ESCs. As you noted, ASCs harvested from live births through cord blood have more than enough polypotency to treat even many neurological disorders, and they are far superior in their cancer-potential-stability.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425)
            Well one question I would wonder about is what do you do if you need a cell from another germ layer. Basically you can divide up cells in any animal (well except coral) as being derived from one of 3 layers, mesoderm, endoderm, and ectoderm. Bone marrow (which is what they used) and connective tissue are both mesoderm so it was a bit of a stretch but not totally unthinkable you could get one from the other. However it's a bigger stretch to get say bone marrow(mesoderm) to say endoderm(Liver or lungs just to
            • Re:!embryonic (Score:4, Interesting)

              by HanClinto (621615) <hanclintoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:12PM (#25828517)

              Therapeutic cloning has a host of problems all its own -- in addition to the fact that "there is no such thing as a normal clone", the large number of donor embryos that would be required for ever person treated. We have a limited supply of unused living human embryos that we've built up over the years through IVF treatments, but if therapeutic cloning became widespread, there's no way IVF surplus would keep up with the demand. Harvesting aborted humans is another option, but that wouldn't work so well for the cloning part since the aborted organism is largely dead, and is often aborted later on in the development cycle, when performing a wholesale cloning operation is no longer feasible (though I've heard things about some clinics being able to offset costs by selling aborted human embryonic biomatter for research).

              Cord blood is a great way to get near-pluripotent ASCs that still maintain most of an ESC's potentiality, but have increased availability and the added stability of being further on down the specialization line. Increased supply means increased odds of finding a matching donor (similar to how bone marrow transplants are done today).

          • by sameerds (148710)

            IANAB (I am not a biologist), but if the possibility set of the patient-harvested polypotent stem cells include trachea cells, I don't see why you would need pluripotent stem cells in order for it to be a "success"?

            Huh? Are you sure you are not a biologist?

          • IANAB (I am not a biologist)

            DUAAIYAGTSIORAUYAGTUIMTO (dont use an abbreviation if you are going to spell it out right after unless you are going to use it more than once)

            You've typed more than you would with or with out the abbreviation!

      • by geekoid (135745)

        No it doesn't, and no this isn't.

    • by WgT2 (591074)

      Just as an aside: researchers are going to the government for financing because NO ONE wants to invest in what has already proven to be an abysmal failure.

    • by jcorno (889560)

      I just feel like I should point this out before someone decides to go on a rant about embryonic SC.

      If you were trying to avoid a debate, you failed spectacularly.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Adult Stem Cells : Lots
    Embryonic Stem Cells : 0

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by philspear (1142299)

      That's a politically convinient way of looking at it. It ignores the fact that studies on ES cells advanced our understanding of adult stem cells, so the scores are irrevocably intertwined, but I can see why you'd like to ignore that fact.

      • by ArcherB (796902)

        That's a politically convinient way of looking at it. It ignores the fact that studies on ES cells advanced our understanding of adult stem cells, so the scores are irrevocably intertwined, but I can see why you'd like to ignore that fact.

        Good thing Bush allowed for federal funding for research on existing lines of embryonic stem cells.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:04PM (#25823489) Homepage Journal

    No rejection and lots of progress. This is really great news.

    • by thule (9041)

      The serious problems with rejection don't come from stem cells from your own body. The problem with cells from your own body is the issue of finding a good source. Major progress has been made in finding a good sources of good stem cells from your own body. No real progress has been made in embryonic cells. This is why embryonic has been having trouble finding research dollars. Companies want to put their money to something that is starting to show results. There are plenty of adult stem cells therapi

      • by jmorris42 (1458) *

        > No trials with embryonic.

        Nobody really though there was a future in that direction. Why do ya think they wanted Uncle Sugar to fund it? Plenty of cash sloshing around in any promising line of research yet embryonic stem cell researchers were telling us they were toast unless they could find a government teat to latch onto. Told me everything I needed to know.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by philspear (1142299)

        I'd point out that ES cells are being widely used for primary research and are giving us new insights into basic cell biology and cellular differentiation. That will inevitably help with adult stem cells.

        Also, companies are not the major source of funding in biomedical research, although they do often contribute. Government funding, from taxes, supports far more biomedical research than private enterprises do.

        Third, IPS cells, basically cells turned into ES-like cells, are the most promising of all three,

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phoenix Rising (28955)

      It's good for this application... Let's not get ahead of logic here.

      • And most other applications!

        Like most geeks, I track this topic and hear many more success stories about adult stem cells (mostly derived from the patient himself, or 'autologous') than using embryonic stem cells (actually I don't recall any signal success using ESCs).

        This including news from Europe (where there are no restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.)

  • The first 3 comments are all about how adult stem cells seem to actually have ready potential, instead of about how embryonic stem cells would have been so much better (which used to happen in the other 5 articles a lot). Can the world catch up now?
    • Are you saying embryonic stems cells would have been better? Do they have the same tissue rejection issue solved?
      Not that there aren't plenty of ways to get embryonic stem cells that don't involve destroying embryos ( like cord blood.) but that is something often neglected.

      • Not that there aren't plenty of ways to get embryonic stem cells that don't involve destroying embryos ( like cord blood.) but that is something often neglected.

        Well, if ES cells turn out to be the only way to get replacement cells that you need, it is going to get much stickier. Cord blood would be great for those few individuals who have their cord blood saved. But for those of us who don't, that's not an option. As people are quick to point out, ES cells would be rejected by your body... unless they were from, say, a clone of you...

        Fortunately, it's not looking like the only way to repair, say, spinal cords is to clone a person and harvest the clone's ES cell

    • I fear not. Most likely, people will have linked "stem cells" with "babykilling" a long, long time ago. It'll take a lot of hammering to get that one out.
  • by StreetStealth (980200) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:18PM (#25823661) Journal

    FTA:

    To create the new windpipe, the team took a seven-centimeter (2.75-inch) segment of trachea from a 51-year-old who had died. Over a six-week period, the team then removed all the cells from the donor trachea, because those cells could lead to rejection of the organ after transplant.

    While this procedure still does require a donor organ, it basically only uses the donor as a collagen framework to grow the patient's cells into.

    Could the next step be fabricating the collagen frame, perhaps through 3D printing?

  • Collagen matrix (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:18PM (#25823669) Homepage Journal

    I found this part at least as interesting as the stem cells:

    To create the new windpipe, the team took a seven-centimeter (2.75-inch) segment of trachea from a 51-year-old who had died. Over a six-week period, the team then removed all the cells from the donor trachea, because those cells could lead to rejection of the organ after transplant.

    All that remained of the donor's stripped-down trachea was a matrix of collagen, a sort of scaffolding onto which the team then put Castillo's own stem cells -- along with cells taken from a healthy part of her trachea.

    So there's still a donor involved, but there's less risk of rejection. We're still a ways from growing sophisticated organs from scratch, but this is an interesting implementation detail.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by philspear (1142299)

      Indeed, and what's more, the donation was sort of out of convinience, not necessity (sorta... read on.)

      The extracellular matrix that the body makes for its own tissues is pretty complex, I have no idea what our capabilities are as far as artificially producing that, but I would guess we're years off from being able to make a good scaffold in a dish. But it shouldn't be impossible forever. At some point, we should be able to make a scaffold from scratch and then populate them with your stem cells, or maybe

  • by Luyseyal (3154) <`swaters' `at' `luy.info'> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:21PM (#25823713) Homepage

    Somehow, I figured lonely slashdotters would be more interested in this article: Using Stem Cells for Breast Enhancement [wbztv.com]

    ... which frankly, strikes me as dangerous. If they're replicating stem cells from people who are already at high risk of breast cancer, doesn't that increase it even more (more generations == shorter telomeres)?

    -l

    • by Valdrax (32670) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:20PM (#25824797)

      If they're replicating stem cells from people who are already at high risk of breast cancer, doesn't that increase it even more (more generations == shorter telomeres)?

      Not really. Stem cells, like most cancer cells, produce telomerase and tend to have significantly longer telomeres than surrounding tissue. While this declines slowly with age, the cells in waist fat should be no more dangerous than those in breast fat in the same person.

      Oh, and I'm not aware of any definitive link between breast size and cancer risk, so I have no idea if transferring fat from the waist -- who hears talk of belly fat cancer? -- to the breasts poses ay risk in itself. I doubt it, though.

      • by Luyseyal (3154)

        The thing is, for these activities, typically you give drugs to the stem cells to make them produce like crazy (like the drugs+aphoresis marrow donation technique). That is what concerns me and was not addressed in the article.

        -l

        • Now that is an interesting point. I unfortunately do not know enough on the issue to conjecture. I don't know how likely the stem cells are to "wear out early."

          I'm going to have to do some reading up on this when I get some free time. Thanks for raising the point.

    • First, there's no proof that tissue created from stem cells is more prone to cancer, at least none that I have ever heard of. Second, you need to realize the very real, and very serious emotional issues that women go through when they are forced into having breast removed. Conciously or sub-conciously, breasts are an important aspect to a woman's feminity and self-esteem, losing one or both can be highly damaging for some women.

      If nothing else, imagine if you got your wang cut off in an accident and the

    • Somehow, I figured lonely slashdotters would be more interested in this article: Using Stem Cells for Breast Enhancement

      Lonely slashdotters? My fiance has been asking me about implants for months, and I kept saying "You know, they wouldn't feel natural. It wouldn't be the same."

      Suddenly, I can cut all that crap. This is the best news I've heard all year!

      • by Luyseyal (3154)

        Believe it or not, I had similar thoughts, though my wife has perfect sized breasts. It will definitely be a hit with the strippers!

        -l

    • by skeeto (1138903)
      I can tell you why /.ers aren't interested in that article: no pictures.
  • My favorite part of the article is where CNN felt like they had to define what the trachea was. Do people reading the news really not know what a trachea is? That's like telling people that Africa is a continent.

    What? Oh. Never mind.

  • don't lobby congress like mad to get stem cell research going in high gear.

    replacing a pancreas will be a lot cheaper then treating diabetes for 40 years.

    Same thing with any organ.
    I predict Heart surgery could become out patient.

    Oh, he has heart disease, we can spend 5000 a year treating it, or 10 grand to replace it.

    • They're all very old! You'd think those guys would be at the front of the line to get some new organs grown. Of course, the only reason we don't have a more-or-less perpetual government of the same people is because they haven't. It's bad enough that we have to put up with some of them for upwards of 30 years...
  • The person who submitted this story should have linked to this one... http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/health/2008/11/19/lah.eod.japan.stem.cell.cnn?iref=videosearch [cnn.com] This one is a video talking about how Japanese doctors used stem cells to grow breast tissue for implants. IMO, this is a WAY more significant. And interesting. And stimulating...
  • by az-saguaro (1231754) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:04PM (#25828457)

    I have been listening to this story being hyped in the news all day, but it doesn't deserve quite that much attention. While this is a "great case" that most surgeons would appreciate, and a great outcome for the patient, the CNN report (and NPR and others) does what lay media generally do with medical reports - over-dramatize yesterday's news. This is an evolutionary case based on established surgical technologies which have been validated over the past 12 years, not a revolutionary implementation of new science. And regardless if you have any thoughts or opinions about embryonic stem cell research, this is not an embryonic case, it is just the use of autogenous cells to repopulate a regenerative biomatrix.

    This is the "new surgery" of the 21st century, a move toward live engineering of living tissues rather than using alloplastic implants. Much of this new surgery is done strictly in situ, inserting an implant, and letting pluripotential cells circulating through the host find the implant and then reorganize themselves into a mature tissue. This works well with connective tissue matrices that will support the ingrowth of "connective tissue cells" derived from the embryonic mesoderm. The items available to surgeons are manufactured matrices such as Integra (Integra Life Sciences, New Jersey), and cadaveric matrices, usually dermis (of human, bovine, porcine, and equine origin, eg from LifeCell, Ethicon, TEI Biosciences, et al). Simply put, we implant these materials to reconstruct dermis, fascias, ligaments, and various skeletal and mesenchymal structures, and human host cells find them and make new living dermis-fascia-ligaments-etc. This works extremely well for reconstruction of skin and musculoskeletal structures. Not much progress has been made yet on the generation of glands and organs (which require function specific epithelial or ecto-entodermal cells).

    These technologies and procedures have been a part of regular surgical practice since about 1996. Make no mistake about it - the tracheo-bronchial reconstruction you read about is a great case, but it is just a progressive implementation of existing concepts and methods to a wider range of diseases and indications. There will be more and more and more of this is the coming decades. In fact, existing regenerative materials could have easily made a new trachea-like conduit, avoiding the need for a human anatomical gift or organ donation, except for one thing . . .

    The trachea and bronchi need a special architecture to avoid collapse. Because of the Bernoulli principle, these conduits could collapse during inspiration, so nature prevents that by having these pipes surrounded by semi-rigid cartilage rings. Regenerated cadaveric dermis by itself will not work. So instead, these guys used a donated trachea for its gross architecture and mechanical integrity, processed it in the same way that dermal matrices are processed to get rid of cells and immunogens, and then they seeded some host cells, then let it grow in situ. In actuality, the seeding step was largely irrelevant. When collagen-aminoglycan matrices (decellularized cadaveric materials) are implanted, circulating stem cells find them automatically. Pre-seeding could speed up the process by a week or so, but no big deal.

    The cells which were seeded were NOT embryonic stem cells. They were just autogenous random marrow cells, some of which will be pluripotential, and able to regenerate tissues according to an embryonic model of tissue histogenesis. Note too that even if these were embryonic omnipotent stem cells, there is no such thing as a tracheal cell. What they implanted was a connective tissue matrix, generated by, and then repopulated by two and only two types of cells: fibroblasts and vascular cells. This is the supporting structure of all organs and tissues. Think of it like reinforced concrete. You can use cement and rebar to make a bridge, a road, a building, and so on, all with different shapes, loads, and functions, but it's all just cement and rebar.

    • by qc_dk (734452)

      The fact that this breakthrough is built on a long line of research and attempts doesn't detract anything from the acomplishment in my eyes. I know we all love the myth that there are these fantastic breakthroughs in science that spontaneously appear, but it is a myth. Even(I would say naturally) the biggest breakthroughs have been based on a earlier trial and error. Einsteins relativity is bsaed on the work of Lorentz and Minkowski. It is still an amazing breakthrough.

      The Millau Viaduct is a great accompli

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