Iranian Researchers Produce Artificial Trachea, Bronchi

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The first artificial bronchi have been produced by the Iranian researchers through tissue engineering. The feat has been accomplished through cooperation of Nanotechnology and Tissue Engineering Research Center, affiliated with Tuberculosis Research Institute of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, and another research center.

Elaborating on the invention, Jalaleddin Ghanavi noted that it is for the first time in the world that artificial bronchi are being produced. “At present, animal tests have been finished successfully and human tests will start soon. We hope to demonstrate a grafted human sample during next year’s 10-Day Dawn celebrations (marking anniversary of the Feb. 1979 Islamic Revolution),” he added.

Ghanavi, who is also deputy head of Nanotechnology and Tissue Engineering Research Center for research affairs, noted that people injured through accidents and traumas whose tracheas have been damaged as well as chemically wounded war veterans of the 8-year war (with Iraq) and those with respiratory problems and bronchial obstruction are major groups that would benefit from artificial windpipe.

He added that they had used cadaver trachea whose main cells were removed. Then the main framework of the trachea (without original cells) has been transplanted with cells from the patient’s trachea. The cells then were cultured via two methods before being wrapped in peritoneum and planted into patient’s abdomen. In this method, peritoneum, which is a richly circulated membrane, supplied needed blood to the grafted trachea.

“After the matrix of framework encompassing the cells is fully grown, cartilaginous cells are developed into new trachea and the framework is eliminated. In fact, when faced with non-living structure, living cells move in the direction which has been dictated by the researcher,” he said.

The researcher noted that it would take six months before trachea is 10 cm. “Of course, some patients will do good on 5 cm of trachea and the rest is transplanted through surgery,” he said.

Deputy head of Nanotechnology and Tissue Engineering Research Center for research affairs also stated that out of six sheep grafted with artificial trachea, four sheep have survived and two have died.

“Therefore, overall success rate for the test stands at about 60 percent,” he said.

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