Successful trials and further research and development could someday allow surgeons the option of replacing damaged or faulty trachea with a fully functional natural-tissue trachea in both adults and children, said Eben Alsberg, professor in Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedic Surgery and director of the Alsberg Stem Cell & Engineered Novel Therapeutics (ASCENT) Lab at Case Western Reserve University.
"The unique approach we are taking to this problem of trachea damage or loss is forming tissue modules using a patient's cells and assembling them like childhood toy Legos into a more complex tissue," said Alsberg, who is leading the research.
Step - Structures - Modules - Detail - Issue
This step toward building living windpipe structures from self-assembled modules is explained in detail in the most recent issue of Advanced Science.
Co-authors include: Marsha Rolle, an associate professor of biomedical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts; Hannah Strobel, a WPI graduate student; Calvin Cotton, a professor of pediatrics and physiology and biophysics at Case Western Reserve; and nine researchers from Alsberg's lab, including co-first authors Anna Dikina and Daniel Alt.
Research - Grant - National - Institutes - Health
The research was supported by a $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.
The trachea, commonly called the windpipe, is the airway between the voice box and the lungs. Patients may need a rebuilt trachea because of tumor resection or an injury that results in tracheal stenosis, a narrowing or constricting of the windpipe, which inhibits breathing.
Damage - Loss - Tissue - Quality - Life
Damage to or loss of trachea tissue can be life-threatening or lead to a significantly reduced quality of life, Alsberg said.
Doctors have limited solutions for patients with damaged tracheas. If a portion of the trachea is damaged, for example, they can only surgically join the ends if less than half of the trachea is damaged in adults or less than 30 percent in children.
Procedures - Implanting
Other procedures, such as implanting...
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