Entries in Sweden (3)


First U.S. Patient Gets Stem Cell Trachea Transplant

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ABINGDON, Md.) -- Christopher Lyles, 30, of Abingdon, Md. exhausted the limited treatment options available in the U.S. for his tracheal cancer. But Lyles read about an experimental tracheal transplant procedure surgeons performed in Europe using adult stem cells. He reached out to Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, director of the Advanced Center for Translational Regenerative Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who was the head surgeon in previous transplant cases.

After a 12-hour procedure in Sweden, Lyles was breathing through a lab-grown windpipe that doctors fashioned from his own stem cells.

Doctors regenerated tissue from Lyles' bone marrow stem cells to create a trachea biologically identical to Lyles' original organ. Lyle underwent the transplant in November and arrived back home Wednesday.

Within three months, Lyles was able to eat and speak on his own, he said.

According to Dr. Mark Iannettoni, head of the department of cardiothoracic surgery at University of Iowa, a trachea is a fragile organ because it is mostly cartilage, which has a poor blood supply.

"Once damaged, it is difficult to get it to heal correctly," said Iannettoni.

In June 2011, Lyles was diagnosed with a rare form of trachea cancer. Unlike some patients with the same condition, Lyle tumor extended below his thyroid gland and did not affect his voice box.

Trachea cancer is resistant to chemotherapy and radiation and attempts to replace the trachea with mechanical devices have not been effective.

Lyles first underwent seven rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation treatment between July and September.

Using a patient's own stem cells not only could help to rebuild the fragile tissue, but also potentially could bypass the risk of having the organ rejected, according to Dr. Eric Lambright, surgical director of lung transplant at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who was not involved with the procedure.

"These patients [are] otherwise sentenced to rather significant horrible quality of life related to their tumors and heroic measures may indeed be very appropriate," said Lambright.

After surgery, Lyles contracted pneumonia in both lungs, which slowed his recovery.

The experimental procedure, not covered by medical insurance, cost between $300,000 to $600,000, Lyles said. The family asked for at least  $300,000 in a donation through the non-profit organization Help Hope Live, which works to fund uninsured transplant-related expenses.

Macchiarini and his surgical team have been performing the transplants since 2008, when they transplanted a trachea using adult stem cells on a woman who suffered from tuberculosis. The procedure was first implemented on patients with tracheal cancer in August 2010.

While the procedure seemed to have worked in a few patients, many experts said the method is still in the earliest stages of development.

Macchiarini said this procedure could pave the way for other challenging transplants including the heart valve, chest wall, lungs and the esophagus.

"We need to be very cautious and don't make hope for patients with cancer, because this is experimental," said Macchiarini. "But so far the patients have had incredible results for an untreatable cancer."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man Cancer-Free after Lab-Grown Windpipe Transplant

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(STOCKHOLM, Sweden) -- Doctors in Sweden have saved the life of a man who was diagnosed with cancer of the windpipe by replacing the bad organ with a good one made in a lab.

The procedure, performed less than a month ago at Karolinska University Hospital, proved to be so successful that the man is now considered cancer-free and is leaving the hospital on Friday.

Paolo Macchiarini, who carried out the windpipe transplant, admitted that before the operation the patient "was condemned to die."

If the man continues on the road to good health, it would mark a significant accomplishment in the field of regenerative medicine.  It's especially promising for those suffering from tracheal cancer or other diseases affecting the windpipe.

While the patient in Sweden was in critical condition, the decision was made to manufacture an artificial windpipe rather than wait for a suitable one from a cadaver.

The reason the transplant worked and why the new windpipe wasn't rejected was because scientists used cells from the patient to seed the organ.

They cautioned that this procedure may not be immediately effective with other complex organs such as the heart, which has thicker tissue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mammogram Study Reignites Controversy on Breast Cancer Screening

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new study seems poised to reignite the debate over who should receive mammograms and when. The Swedish study found that starting women on mammography at age 40 rather than age 50 was associated with a 26-percent reduction in risk of death from breast cancer -- a finding that raises new questions about what women 40-49 should do about mammography screening. The study comes just a week after another study, also from a Scandinavian country, found that mammography screening contributed only a 10 percent reduction in mortality.  Researchers led by Hakan Jonsson of Umea University in Umea, Sweden reported the findings at a press briefing in advance of a presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Breast Cancer Symposium.  The debate erupted last year when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended that women under age 50 don't need routine screening mammography.  USPSTF's earlier stance was in accord with American Cancer Society guidelines suggesting mammography every one to two years for all women age 40 and older.

Copyright ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio