STOCKHOLM, Sweden, July 7 (UPI) -- Surgeons in Sweden have performed the world's first transplant of a synthetic organ, an artificial windpipe coated in the patient's stem cells, officials said.
Surgeons at the Karolinska University Hospital said the 36-year-old cancer patient is doing well after the procedure, the BBC reported Thursday.
The pioneering surgery, which presents no risk of the organ being rejected, involves modeling a structure or scaffold that is an exact replica of the patient's own windpipe, removing the need for a donor organ.
Scientists at University College London used 3D scans of the patient's windpipe to craft a copy of the patient's trachea out of porous glass, which was then flown to Sweden and soaked in a solution of stem cells taken from the patient's bone marrow.
In a 12-hour operation, the patient's cancerous windpipe was removed and replaced with the custom-made replica.
The stem cells will be able to divide and grow, turning the inert windpipe scaffold into an organ indistinguishable from a normal healthy one, doctors said.