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Vein Grown From Her Own Stem Cells Saves 10-Year-Old 169

An anonymous reader writes in with a story about a milestone in stem cell medicine. "A ten year old girl became the first person in the world to get a major blood vessel replaced by one grown using her own stem cells. The 10-year-old from Sweden had a blockage of a vein from her liver. The doctors decided to give her a new vein instead of a liver transplant or giving her a vein from her own body, Associated Press reported. The team from University of Gothenburg first took 9 cm vein segment from a dead man and stripped all living cells from it, leaving behind only a protein structure. They later reconstructed the vein by using cells from the girl's own bone marrow. The new graft was then put in the girl's body two weeks later."
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Vein Grown From Her Own Stem Cells Saves 10-Year-Old

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  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:28PM (#40329941) Homepage Journal

    Since the donor vessel was stripped down to nothing but a protien structure is there any reason a non-human vein couldn't be donated? Cattle are slaughtered in bulk for instance, I don't see why a protien structure from one of those couldn't be used.

  • by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:34PM (#40330001)
    I am more interested in the fact that her cells were harvested from her bone marrow, rather than gathered from umbilical cord blood and cryogenically stored at several thousand dollars a pop.

    Although it can't be a good news article for their business, it gives the rest of us oldies a bit more hope that we can benefit from stem cells.
  • by Algae_94 ( 2017070 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:41PM (#40330085) Journal
    Cows would have to be slaughtered in a way to save a certain vein for a procedure like this. Current slaughterhouse practices would not lead to much useable matter for medical procedures like this. It's do-able, but would take some changes. That's assuming the cow vein is indeed compatible.
  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:44PM (#40330103) Journal
    Maybe she was lactose intolerant. :-)

    I see three possible reasons why this was not done:
    1. The vein needs to be a certain shape, and cow veins are shaped incorrectly.
    2. The protein structure of cow veins is different somehow.
    3. D'oh!

    My guess, though, is that this is an experimental process and they went with a tissue type match to reduce the possibility of rejection. Trans-species transplants just adds way too many variables.
  • Larry Niven quote (Score:2, Interesting)

    by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @08:13PM (#40330391)
    here's your sign: A criminal's pirated body can save a dozen lives. There is now no valid argument against capital punishment for any given crime; for all such argument seeks to prove that killing a man does society no good.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @09:19PM (#40330881)

    There's a ranch in California that provides medical grade collagen from their cattle. Their "slaughterhouse" is comparable with a high-end operating room. They need to take extreme precautions in raising the cattle to produce the absolutely best product possible - totally organic, no contact with cattle not under the control of the ranch (they actually lease all surrounding lands and leave them unused to ensure that), etc. It's very expensive to raise cattle this way. But it is very lucrative. Lucrative enough that the meat is a by-product and only adds marginally to the bottom line. I imagine if this were to become common place, similar ranches could be set up. Granted, it moves away from the local slaughterhouse diverting part of their cull, but it's do-able.

  • by nashv ( 1479253 ) on Friday June 15, 2012 @01:27AM (#40332079) Homepage

    About a few hundred reasons, the most important of which are
    1. the much larger likelihood of an immune reaction to the collagen-elastin matrix. Human collagen =! Cattle collagen , mainly in terms of glycosylation etc.

    2. Large blood vessels of the body have some degree of specialization, they aren't just pipes. Finding an anatomically compatible cattle vein can be a problem, what with cattle liver being a completely different shape and all that.

    3. As a matter of principle, you really don't want to expose cattle pathogens deep into the human peritoneum, it only encourages them to jump species. and before you say Sterilization, remember that is only a probabilistic process which you can't do too much of non-destructively.

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