An 11-year-old boy is the first child ever to undergo a pioneering procedure of having his windpipe rebuilt with his own stem cells.
Ciaran Finn-Lynch from Northern Ireland was brought to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, England to have this cutting-edge transplant procedure.
Ciaran was born with a condition that made breathing practically impossible due to a one-millimeter-wide windpipe. He was implanted with a metal tube to keep the passageway open, but last November he almost died when the tube ruptured a major artery and caused massive bleeding.
A windpipe transplant donor was found for the boy, and he was at the London hospital in March to undergo the operation. He had his own stem cells taken from his hip and injected into the donor's windpipe, "which had been stripped of its own cells to leave just a collagen tube."
Ciaran's stem cells rebuilt the donor's windpipe, leaving no risk of of transplant rejection.
The successful procedure and Ciaran's ever-improving recovery has now resulted in him being able to go home. His parents are looking forward to having their son lead a normal and healthy life.
His mother, Colleen, told Sky News: "Ciaran's spirit has never waned. Two weeks ago he had a music lesson while he was on the intensive care unit. He played on the drums and absolutely loved it."
The leader of the transplant team Professor Martin Elliott said: "His recovery has been complicated, as one might expect for a new procedure.
"The treatment offers hope to many patients whose major airways were previously considered untreatable or irreplaceable."