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2-year-old girl given bioengineered windpipe dies

The youngest person ever to receive a bioengineered organ has died, the New York Times reported.

Two-year-old Hannah Warren was born without a trachea – a rare condition that is fatal in 99 percent of cases. On April 9, Warren became the recipient of a bioengineered windpipe, made from a combination of plastic fibers and the girl’s own cells. The procedure was the sixth of its kind to be performed in the United States, according to the New York Times.

The windpipe procedure involved an additional operation on Warren’s esophagus, which failed to properly heal, and it necessitated a second correctional operation last month. Warren died of complications from that operation on Saturday at Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria.

“The trachea was never a problem,” Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, Warren’s surgeon and a specialist in the field of regenerative medicine who is affiliated with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, told reporters on Sunday. “It was her native tissue that was very fragile.”

Macchiarini has performed similar operations on two other patients. One of those patients also died, but another is still alive two-and-a-half years after the procedure, according to the New York Times.

Doctors at Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria said they hope to eventually develop plans for a center for regenerative medicine.  

Click for more from the New York Times.

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