There was a Swedish-Italian workshop on nanoscience and medical technology held in Stockholm, Sweden, Sept. 29 and 30, 2011. It rates a mention here largely because there’s some additional information about the synthetic windpipe transplant that took place in June 2011 in Sweden. From the Oct. 14, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,
A very important session was devoted to “tissue engineering”, i.e. the creation of artificial tissues and organs to replace diseased or damaged ones, thus reducing the need for human organs from donors for transplantation, whose availability is always difficult to predict. A “keynote lecturer”, in this field was held by Prof. Paolo Macchiarini, who recently joined the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (the Institute that awards the Nobel Prize in Medicine each year).
Prof. Macchiarini presented the results of his recent surgery works, performed at the Karolinska, where for the first time a synthetic trachea (windpipe) made of porous nanocomposites was transplanted into a human patient. This was the base for the trachea reconstruction using stem cells from the patient himself, thus eliminating any possible problem of rejection. The artificial structure was designed to dissolve in a few months, leaving a totally natural organ. [emphasis mine] It is clear that this could be a first step in a revolution in regenerative medicine, reducing the need for conventional transplants, but it is also clear that the Prof. Macchiarini was able to perform this action thanks to the collaboration of experts in nanotechnology for the design of the scaffold, bioreactors for the growth of stem cells and biological tissues and dedicated infrastructure in Stockholm.
I must have missed it when the event (trachea transplant) was first made public (mentioned in my Aug. 2, 2011 posting) but I never realized the biocomposite was meant to dissolve.
Here’s a little more about the workshop, from the news item,
During the workshop, 18 Swedish and 18 Italian experts offered a comprehensive overview of the most prominent activities in the two Countries in several fields: bio-sensors, bio-electronics, contrast media for imaging and bio-analysis, nanoparticles for drug delivery eventually combined with diagnosis possibilities (known in the field as “theranostics”).
Several companies from both countries, including Bracco, Finceramica and Colorbbia from Italy as well as AstraZeneca and Spago Imaging from Sweden, presented their recent results in the field and gave a clear overview of the potential impact of nanotechnology in improving existing products as well as generating new solutions for the grand challenges that medicine is facing.
There are more details in the news item and at the Italian Embassy in Sweden’s Office of the Scientific Attaché in Sweden, Norway and Iceland workshop page.