A 10-year-old British boy has had his windpipe rebuilt from his own stem cells during a groundbreaking surgery.
The nine-hour operation at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children involved doctors taking stem cells from the boy's bone marrow and injecting them into a donor windpipe.
The windpipe, which had been stripped of its own cells, was then implanted into the boy. The stem cells will now begin to transform themselves into tracheal cells within the boy's body.
Doctors say there is no danger of the newly grown cells triggering an immune response because they were derived from his own tissue.
If the outcome is successful, doctors say it could lead to a revolution in regenerative medicine.
"It is the first time a child has received stem cell organ treatment, and it's the longest airway that has ever been replaced," Professor Martin Birchall, head of translational regenerative medicine at University College London, said.
"We'd like to move to other organs as well, particularly the larynx and esophagus."