Doctors Use Girl’s Own Stem Cells in Vein Transplant First


A 10-year-old girl from Sweden is the first person in the world to undergo a successful vein transplant where a donated vein was seeded with the patient’s own stem cells so as to ward off rejection, it has been revealed.

Reports New Scientist:

Sumitran-Holgersson and her colleagues obtained the 9-centimetre-long section of vein from the groin of a cadaver, and stripped it of all the donor’s cells using strong detergents, leaving just the underlying protein scaffold.

Next, they extracted endothelial and smooth muscle cells from the girl’s bone marrow. These cells line organs and blood vessels. After multiplying them in the lab, they coated them onto the inner and outer surfaces of the donated vein and implanted it into the girl.

Because it was coated with her own cells, and all the donor’s cells had disappeared, the vein was accepted by the girl without any need for immunosuppressive drugs.

The girl had been victim to recurrent blockages in the hepatic portal vein, which serves to drain blood into the liver. This condition, while of course reducing her vitality, had also had a severe impact on her growth.

The traditional method to treat such a blockage would have been a painful harvesting procedure where veins are taken from an area of the deep neck or leg (for a meso Rex bypass), in the latter case creating an associated risk of lower limb disorders.

The girl, as a result of this new technique, is said to have developed no post-operative complications. Furthermore, a year on from the procedure and the girl’s height had increased significantly. However, doctors became aware of a partial decrease in blood flow in the area which, medical staff concluded, meant the girl required a second graft. Since that time, the girl is reportedly doing well.

A method like this was used in 2008 when a Colombian woman became the first to receive a donor windpipe seeded with her own stem cells.


Related Reading:

Facebook App Hopes to Make Organ Donation ’Viral’

Lift Ban on HIV Infected Organ Transplants? HIV Patients Want Access

Hospital: No Kidney Transplant For Girl With Disabilities

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to robswatski.


Bethany Hunt
Bethany Hunt5 years ago

How brilliant! It won't be too long before we can grow cells and organs for any problem in the body. How wonderful to grow new nerve cells to treat para- and quadriplegia, or even nerve cells to replace the lost tissue in MS?
And on a different, but related issue - scientists have already begun growing animal muscle (i.e. meat), so we won't have any excuse to slaughter billions of animals a year - happy days!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra5 years ago

Thank you Steve, for Sharing this!

Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago


Linda McKellar
Past Member 5 years ago

Wow! Where are all those who are against stem cell research? Those demonic stem cells gleaned from aborted foetuses everywhere!!! Every baby born now should have stem cells set aside for just such cases. The nay sayers are ignorant of the potential for good and of the fact that such cells need not be obtained by "killing" babies. They need education about the facts, not propaganda from loonies.

Wesley Struebing
Wesley S5 years ago

Wonderful! I hope, too, that researchers are also investigating why the first graft started showing reduced flow, too.

But medicine (and science) like this gives one hope for our future.

Karen and Ed O.
Karen and Ed O5 years ago

Amazing. Living in the 20th and 21st centuries has been so exciting from scientific, astronomical, technical and medical standpoints. To think that less than a hundred years ago they had to cut off limbs or watch people die because they couldn't help or medicate them.
The human mind is capable of incredible things. This is why education is so important and must not be sacrificed for the sake of a dollar.

aj E.
aj E5 years ago


Jen Matheson
Past Member 5 years ago

This amazing. I'm happy for this young woman.

Samantha Christopher
Samantha C5 years ago

This is why stem cell research is so important. Also another example that not all science and research is bad.

John Mansky
John Mansky5 years ago

Interesting article,thank you...