In a new medical breakthrough, a British doctor was able to save a baby’s life by performing the world’s first operation using stem cells from placentas.
Britain’s Heart Foundation Professor Massimo Caputo used pioneering stem cell scaffolding to rectify a baby’s heart defect. Baby Finley, who is now two-years-old was born with the main arteries in his heart facing the wrong way around.
He underwent his first open-heart surgery at just four days old at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. However, the surgery didn’t resolve his heart condition as the left side continued to suffer from a severe lack of blood flow.
After weeks of intensive care, Professor Caputo tried injecting stem cells from a placenta bank directly into Finley’s heart with the hopes that it would help the damaged blood vessels grow.
The so-called ‘allogeneic’ cells were grown by scientists at the Royal Free Hospital in London. Allogeneic cells have the ability to grow into tissue that is not rejected and in Finley’s case, have regenerated damaged heart muscle.
Professor Caputo says he is hopeful that this surgery could help other children in the future.