We’ve all heard of the controversy surrounding stem cell research and its moral-or lack thereof, according to certain institutions-implications, and how said institutions were trying to bar its progress. But today, history was made: 2-year old Hannah Warren has just successfully undergone a life-saving operation granting her an artificial windpipe made from…you guessed it: stem cells!
Warren was born with a rare and really messed up disorder called tracheal agenesis, which left her born without a trachea; as strange as that sounds one in 50,000 children are born with it, and, well…you know.
Anyway, the procedure, established by Dr. Paolo Macchiarini of Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute’s Advanced Center for Translational Regenerative Medicine, follows a rather simple but ingenious idea: the donor cells are the patient’s own cells extracted from (in this case) the bone marrow and are then used to regenerate vital organs. Macchiarini himself performed the operation at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois, with other medical powerhouses such as Harvard Bioscience contributing to the cause with materials and expertise.
What I find very interesting about this operations is its locus: one would expect the operation to have taken place in universal healthcare hotspots such as Sweden or Warren’s native Canada, but the hospital in question is located on the Catholic OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. One would expect the case to have been rejected by a religious organization such as this right from the get-go, but fortunately, after gathering for council on the matter and actually taking the time to read through it and realize that it didn’t violate their pro-life stance, the case was accepted.
Overall, this operation represents not only a breakthrough in medical research (despite Warren being the sixth and not first to receive the operation) but also in social thought and acceptance of the controversial through rational thought and debate. Hannah’s set to make a full recovery and live out her life normally despite some complications after the surgery. Here’s to a speedy recovery, Hannah!
Y’all take care now.