Nanotechnology has played a critical role in the first synthetic organ transplant, a trachea (windpipe). A patented nanocomposite of unreported composition was used to form a scaffold exactly the same size and shape as the patients own windpipe, which was then seeded with adult stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow. The surgical team then removed the patient’s cancer-ravaged windpipe and replaced it with the synthetic replica. Because the stem cells are from the patient, there is no problem with immune rejection. The breakthrough is described in two reports from the BBC: “First synthetic organ transplant” by Fergus Walsh, and by Michelle Roberts “Surgeons carry out first synthetic windpipe transplant“. Quoting the lead surgeon Professor Paolo Macchiarini from Italy:
“Thanks to nanotechnology, this new branch of regenerative medicine, we are now able to produce a custom-made windpipe within two days or one week.
“This is a synthetic windpipe. The beauty of this is you can have it immediately. There is no delay. This technique does not rely on a human donation.”
Prof. Macchiarini also expressed the opinion that it would soon be possible to repair or replace many other organs in the same way.