A ten year old girl has been the first to receive a bio-engineered vein though a transplant. It’s quite possible that other children have received them as gifts. I really don’t know.
A team led by Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson at the University of Gothenburg took a 9 centimeter-long snippet of vein from the groin of a deceased donor, stripped it of all cells and then reseeded the resulting hollow tube with stem cells taken from the recipient’s own bone marrow. Two weeks later, the surgeons transplanted the engineered conduit into the young girl. She remained healthy for close to a year, although a second procedure was then needed to lengthen the first graft after the vein started to constrict. Ever since the second transplant, in February of this year, the girl’s energy levels have improved and the blood flow to her kidneys are back to normal.
Her family was sad to report that, because the donor vein was taken from a junkie, the girl has now developed an insatiable appetite for heroin and keeps stealing their toasters.
“We should have listened to Jesus,” they lamented. “We should all listen to Jesus.”
Just kidding. They’re Swedish.
And the girl is doing fine.