Toddler Gets New Chance at Life Thanks to Stem Cell Trachea
Hannah Warren, a cheerful almost-three-year-old, will soon be going home from the hospital for the first time in her young life. And while spending the first two-plus years of her life in the children’s wing of a central Illinois hospital may sound like a nightmare, her parents are thrilled that their little girl is alive and well. It’s all thanks to her own stem cells, and the hard work of physicians who saw past a certain death sentence.
Born without a windpipe, Hannah has been unable to ever eat, drink, swallow, or even breathe on her own. Until she was brought back to the States from Seoul where she was born, Warren’s parents were given no hope that their daughter would live. Then, in April 2013, Hannah underwent a surgery that gave her a chance at life for the first time.
The experimental procedure implanted a three inch windpipe that doctors and scientists had created from Hannah’s own stem cells. The cells came from bone marrow extracted from the girl’s hip bones, which was set to multiply on a plastic scaffold. It took less than a week for the tiny windpipe to completely form. While she’ll need a revision surgery (to implant a larger windpipe) in about five years, right now Hannah and her parents are enjoying the happy toddler’s new lease on life.