- Currently there are no effective treatments for children suffering with advanced anatomical disorders of the trachea.
- An example of such a disorder is congenital tracheal stenosis, characterised by the presence of complete tracheal rings and stenosis of the larger airways.
- Children suffering with such congenital abnormalities often require constant hospitalisation with slide tracheoplasty being the preferred choice of treatment, however it is very common for patients to develop recurrent stenoses.
- This is often a result of stent erosion, ultimately leading to death or the ability of the trachea to undergo somatic growth.
- Due to the severity of these conditions, they are considered fatal and once detected prenatally, the pregnancies are often terminated.
- In the past few years, there has been an increased use of tissue-engineered structures made from stem cells within clinical settings.
- Benefits of stem cell-based tissue engineering procedures arise from the notion that remodeling of the native stroma would result in a lack of immunosuppression due to the similarity of the local tissue.
- A case was reported where a successful stem cell-based tracheal replacement procedure was performed on a 26-year-old patient with end-stage airway disease.
- Whilst stem cell-based tracheal grafts have been successful with positive short-term outcomes, little evidence exists regarding the long-term effects of the grafts, specifically on children.
- This study reports a 2-year follow-up of the first paediatric stem cell-based tracheal replacement, with the notion in mind that ideal results following the procedure are:
- Normal airway and lung function
- Appropriate somatic growth
- Increased quality of life
- Elimination of the need for continuous hospitalisation and the constant advent of surgical procedures.