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UK doctors plan voice box transplant.

British doctors are debating whether it is ethical to start clinical trials to allow voice box transplantation, according to a report from the British Broadcasting Corp. Scientists believe they may be able to transplant a voice box in such a way that the patient would not need to take anti-rejection drugs.

Despite years of research, there has only ever been one voice box transplant in the U.S., and the patient still needed to breathe through a hole in his neck. But improved stem cell technology could make it a possibility to develop a voice box for transplantation. A similar technique was used last year to give Claudia Castillo an artificial windpipe. She was given a donated organ which was covered with her own stem cells to trick her body into thinking the organ was part of her.

She can now live a normal life without having to take anti-rejection drugs. The international scientists behind the new project are now applying for funding to try to do the same thing with voice boxes.
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Publication:Transplant News
Date:Apr 1, 2009
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