A 2-year-old girl has a windpipe now, thanks to stem cells, according to People on April 30. The child was born without a windpipe and has spent her entire life in a Seoul hospital, where doctors told her parents there was no hope for her. She was unable to breathe, eat, drink or swallow on her own, but now that has all changed.
Hannah Warren is the youngest patient worldwide to benefit from the experimental stem cell procedure. The nine-hour operation took place April 9 at a central Illinois hospital.
The stem cells came from her bone marrow, which were extracted with a special needle that was put into her hip bone. Then, they were seeded in a lab on a plastic scaffold. It took less than a week for the cells to multiply and to create a new windpipe. When it was implanted into Hannah, it resembled a 3-inch tube of penne pasta.
So far the windpipe appears to be working although she remains on a ventilator. She did have an infection after surgery, but now she is acting like a healthy 2-year-old.
Doctors believe that she will eventually be able to go home and live a normal life. Her father, Darryl Warren and his wife, Lee Young-mi, attended a press conference where they were teary-eyed and emotional. Darryl said that he feels that his daughter has been reborn and that they hope Hannah can come home in a month or so.
Hannah Warren will celebrate her third birthday in August.