Girl receives major vein made with her own stem cells
A 10-year-old girl who recently underwent a major vein transplant received a blood vessel that was made from her own stem cells.
It is thought to be the first transplant of its kind ever to be carried out – involving a vein that has been engineered in a lab – and was carried out in March 2011.
Doctors in Sweden, from the University of Gothenburg,reported the transplant in The Lancet medical journal, and said the procedure greatly improved the patient’s quality of life.
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The girl had a blocked hepatic portal vein, which is responsible for draining blood from her gut and spleen to her liver; a problem that has the potential to turn fatal.
After extracting the donor vein, the doctors stripped it of its original cells and replaced them with the girl’s own cells, which were taken from her bone marrow.
When the 9cm length of vein was transplanted, her body immediately recognised it and accepted it, meaning she does not have to rely on taking immuno-suppressants.
The blood flow between the gut, spleen and liver was immediately restored the girl gained weight and grew in height following the transplant.
Nine months after the initial procedure, doctors also had to carry out a similar operation to rectify a narrowing of the vein.
Commenting on the revolutionary transplant, the team of doctors said: “The new stem-cells derived graft resulted not only in good blood flow rates and normal laboratory test values but also, in strikingly improved quality of life for the patient.”
Also writing in The Lancet, Martin Birchall and George Hamilton from University College London, added: “The young girl in this report was spared the trauma of having veins harvested from the deep neck or leg with the associated risk of lower limb disorders, and avoided the need for a liver or multivisceral transplantation.
"Although the graft had to be extended by a second stem cell-based graft at one year, she has an improved exercise tolerance and evidence of improved cognition.
“Thus, in a long-term economic analysis, the substantial price for a one-off, personalised treatment can be justified.
“However acute pressures on health systems mean that this argument might be impractical in larger numbers of patients.”
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Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”