First of a Kind Stem Cell Surgery Grows New Cheekbones
October 12, 2009
(ChattahBox)—The advances in the use of stem cells to cure disease and even grow new organs, has now led to a first ever surgical breakthrough, giving a boy born without cheekbones a new lease on life. The surgery using cadaver bone and the boy’s own stem cells, resulted in the growth of new facial bones.
Brad Guilkey, 15, suffers from a rare genetic disorder, called Treacher Collins syndrome, which prevents the bones and other tissues in the face from developing. Besides the severe facial disfigurement, the condition also limits Brad’s ability to play sports, like other boys his age. Without the protection of facial bones, a blow to his face with a basketball could crush his eyeball.
In May, doctors at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center performed an experimental treatment on Brad, implanting cadaver bone in his face and injecting it with his own nourishing stem cells, during an eight-hour surgical procedure.
Since the time of the surgery, Brad has grown solid bone in his face, due to the stem cells triggering the cadaver bone back to life. Dr. Jesse Taylor of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is “pleasantly surprised” by the successful outcome of the experimental stem cell surgery.
Brad Guilkey and his parents see it as a miracle.
According to the National Institutes of Health, about 1 in 50,000 people are affected by the rare syndrome.