Trachea transplantation: From laboratory to patient

Claire Crowley, Martin Birchall, Alexander M. Seifalian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Today, tracheal lesions occupying<30% of the trachea in children and<50% in adults can be treated with primary resection, followed by end-to-end anastomosis. However, lesions larger than this require a tracheal replacement, of which there are currently few options available. The recent advancement of tissue-engineering principles in tracheal research is quickly opening up new vistas for airway reconstruction and creating a very promising future for medical science. This review discusses the main criteria required for the development of a tissue-engineered tracheal replacement. The criteria include: (a) appropriate cell types and sources; (b) biomolecules to direct the differentiation of the cells to the desired lineage (c) a suitable scaffold for a cellular matrix; and (d) a bioreactor to facilitate cell attachment and proliferation and construct transport to theatre. Our group has designed and developed the world's first synthetic tracheal replacement, using a novel nanocomposite material, also developed in our laboratory. It was implanted clinically in June 2011 with a successful outcome. The application of tissue-engineering approaches to tracheal replacement development is the first step towards the much-anticipated 'off-the-shelf' tissue-engineered technology, contributing extensively to the advancement in treatment and rehabilitation of patients afflicted with tracheal pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-367
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomaterials
  • Cartilage
  • Clinical study
  • Nanocomposite
  • Nanotechnology
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Stem cells
  • Tissue engineering
  • Trachea
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials


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