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New Esophagus Grown in Body of Patient Disabled by Infection

  • Feb 09th, 2016
  • Guy Paterson

Recently, doctors from the Medical College of Wisconsin and Froedtert have regrown the esophagus of a man whose life was threatened after he was left unable to swallow from contracting an esophageal infection in 2007.

The doctors regrowing the esophagus used FDA approved metal stents as scaffolding, and then applied donated human tissues as well as plasma from the patient's blood. This allowed rapid and strong growth to occur to create a new, healthy esophagus where there had previously been a defective and detrimental one.

Today, years after the treatment was undertaken, the man in question is living happily and healthily, eating normally, and maintaining his natural weight without need to intervention from medical professionals. This success offers great promise to patients suffering from esophageal cancer, as well as offering an alternative to the present and somewhat brutish method of  esophageal removal in which the stomach is pulled into the chest, which is known to have long lasting and painful residual effects.

While very promising, the widespread application of this treatment is as of yet far off. To bring it to the mainstream would require rigorous testing on animals in phase I and II clinical trials, though the doctors behind the project are hopeful, saying they intend to apply for grants for further investigation and experimentation with the technology.

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Guy Paterson

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