>Now this is really exciting.
Organ transplants have lots of problems, from the number of donors and availability of the right organ, to the issues of transport and logistics, and especially immune rejection.
For a while researchers have dreamed of growing new organs using someone’s own genetic material, so they can place them in the body and have them be exact genetic matches. That would eliminate the need for orgon donors and the risk of immune rejection.
We are not there yet, but this case is very close. The researchers used the connective tissue from a windpipe from a dead organ donor but removed all living cells. Then they used the female patient’s own stem cells (extracted from bone marrow) to grow a fully functional windpipe on that scaffolding (in particular to grow new cartilage), which they then ‘transplanted’ into her.
In principle the same technique could be used to regrow all sorts of organs, though actually growing the organs and having the right scaffolding is still extremely tricky and has only been demonstrated for a few organs. Even so, progress is being made at a remarkable rate.