In what is widely considered an innovative procedure, surgeons have performed a windpipe transplant with stem cells to treat a patient with trachea cancer.
Doctors have successfully transplanted windpipes into two cancer patients in the groundbreaking procedure that uses stem cells to allow a donated trachea to regenerate tissue and create an organ biologically close to the original.
The two patients-a 31-year-old Czech lady and 19-year-old British woman-are in good condition and have been released from the hospital in Florence, Italy just weeks after the surgery.
The British woman was speaking after only three or four days, said Dr Walter Giovannini, the director of the AOU Careggi hospital where the surgeries took place on July 3 and 13.
"This is a unique solution for a problem that had none, except the death of the patient," the Telegraph quoted Giovannini as saying.
While trachea cancer is rare, it is very difficult to treat because it is resistant to chemotherapy and radiation and transplants of mechanical devices to replace the windpipe have not been effective, said Giovannini.
The hospital did not release the patients' identities or more details about their cases due to privacy concerns.
Giovannini said the Czech woman is the mother of a 6-month-old.
Macchiarini told a press conference in Florence the procedure could in the future be applied to other organs.