Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Two-year-old girl from Seoul gets brand-new windpipe made from her own stem cells

The news today reported that Hannah died following lung complications after a second surgery. I wrote about it here.

As I wrote in this post, there is an online site (Give Forward) to donate funds for Hannah's medical care.

This AP story of a little girl whose stem cells were used to create a brand-new trachea would be an inspiring and amazing topic for a post in and of itself.

But it takes on even more significance for this blog because not only is the little girl from Seoul, but her father is an English teacher from Canada, specifically from Newfoundland. I'm guessing some of my regular readers might actually know who this person is.

Here's an excerpt from the AP story (via Huffington Post):
A 2-year-old girl born without a windpipe now has a new one grown from her own stem cells, the youngest patient in the world to benefit from the experimental treatment.

Hannah Warren has been unable to breathe, eat, drink or swallow on her own since she was born in South Korea in 2010. Until the operation at a central Illinois hospital, she had spent her entire life in a hospital in Seoul. Doctors there told her parents there was no hope and they expected her to die.

The stem cells came from Hannah's bone marrow, extracted with a special needle inserted into her hip bone. They were seeded in a lab onto a plastic scaffold, where it took less than a week for them to multiply and create a new windpipe.

About the size of a 3-inch tube of penne pasta, it was implanted April 9 in a nine-hour procedure.

Early signs indicate the windpipe is working, Hannah's doctors announced Tuesday, although she is still on a ventilator. They believe she will eventually be able to live at home and lead a normal life.

"We feel like she's reborn," said Hannah's father, Darryl Warren.

"They hope that she can do everything that a normal child can do but it's going to take time. This is a brand new road that all of us are on," he said in a telephone interview. "This is her only chance but she's got a fantastic one and an unbelievable one."

Warren choked up and his wife, Lee Young-mi, was teary-eyed at a hospital news conference Tuesday. Hannah did not attend because she is still recovering from the surgery. She developed an infection after the operation but now is acting like a healthy 2-year-old, her doctors said.
Kudos to the Catholic hospital that made this expensive operation affordable, as well as the amazing Italian doctor who also helped make it a possibility.


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