Surgeons in Sweden have carried out the world’s first synthetic organ transplant.
Scientists in London created an artificial windpipe which was then coated in stem cells from the patient.
Crucially, the technique does not need a donor, and there is no risk of the organ being rejected. The surgeons stress a windpipe can also be made within days.
The 36-year-old cancer patient is doing well a month after the operation.
Professor Paolo Macchiarini from Italy led the pioneering surgery, which took place at the Karolinska University Hospital.
In an interview with the BBC, he said he now hopes to use the technique to treat a nine-month-old child in Korea who was born with a malformed windpipe or trachea.
Professor Macchiarini already has 10 other windpipe transplants under his belt – most notably the world’s first tissue-engineered tracheal transplant in 2008 on 30-year-old Spanish woman Claudia Costillo – but all required a donor.