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Harvard Researcher: Breakthrough Made In Organ Transplants

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Diane Stern is co-anchor of “The WBZ Afternoon News,” broadcast on WBZ...
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BOSTON (CBS) — A breakthrough has been made in organ transplants that uses the cells in the patient’s own body.

David Green, Harvard Apparatus president, says so far the outcome has been positive.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Diane Stern reports

So far, trachea’s have been able to be regenerated in people who have been born with birth defects or have sustained serious injury to the organ.

Using a “scaffold,” a tube-shaped like a natural human trachea, stem cells are used to infuse through the scaffold and regenerate the trachea.

The stem cells are taken from the patients bone marrow.

“There is no risk of rejection because the cells are your own,” Green said. “It’s different from a kidney transplant because the organ isn’t coming from someone else.”

The procedure also does away with the need for immune suppressant drugs which often have strong side effects.

“This approach of using a synthetic scaffold combines with the patient’s stem cells, provides a new way forward for organ transplants,” Green said.

There are eight patients who have had the transplant; one in the United States and seven in Europe.

“The first patient to be transplanted is now alive and well at five years after transplant, she never showed any signs of rejection of the synthetic organ,” he said.

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