Indexed on: 16 Jun '16Published on: 16 Jun '16Published in: Seminars in Pediatric Surgery
Regenerative medicine offers hope of a sustainable solution for severe airway disease by the creation of functional, immunocompatible organ replacements. When considering fetuses and newborns, there is a specific spectrum of airway pathologies that could benefit from cell therapy and tissue engineering applications. While hypoplastic lungs associated with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) could benefit from cellular based treatments aimed at ameliorating lung function, patients with upper airway obstruction could take advantage from a de novo tissue engineering approach. Moreover, the international acceptance of the EXIT procedure as a means of securing the precarious neonatal airway, together with the advent of fetal surgery as a method of heading off postnatal co-morbidities, offers the revolutionary possibility of extending the clinical indication for tissue-engineered airway transplantation to infants affected by diverse severe congenital laryngotracheal malformations. This article outlines the necessary basic components for regenerative medicine solutions in this potential clinical niche.