Doctors 'Print' Airway Tube So Boy Can Breathe
3D technology saves life of Ohio tot
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2013 5:34 PM CDT
Kaiba Gionfriddo is hugged by parents April and Bryan outside their Youngstown, Ohio.   (Mark Stahl)

(Newser) – In a medical first, doctors used plastic particles and a 3D laser printer to create an airway splint to save the life of a baby boy who used to stop breathing nearly every day. It's the latest advance from the booming field of regenerative medicine, making body parts in the lab. In the case of Kaiba Gionfriddo, doctors didn't have a moment to spare. Because of a birth defect, the little Ohio boy's airway kept collapsing, causing his breathing to stop and often his heart, too. Doctors in Michigan had been researching artificial airway splints but had not implanted one in a patient yet.

In a single day, they "printed out" 100 tiny tubes, using computer-guided lasers to stack and fuse thin layers of plastic instead of paper and ink to form various shapes and sizes. The next day, with special permission from the FDA, they implanted one of these tubes in Kaiba, the first time this has been done. Suddenly, a baby that doctors had said would probably not leave the hospital alive could breathe normally for the first time. He was 3 months old when the operation was done last year and is nearly 19 months old now. "He's a pretty healthy kid right now," says a doctor at CS Mott Children's Hospital of the University of Michigan, where the operation was done. It's described in tomorrow's New England Journal of Medicine. Independent experts praised the work and the potential for 3D printing to create more body parts to solve unmet medical needs.

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Showing 3 of 21 comments
BanTobaccoEverywhere
May 24, 2013 6:54 PM CDT
That these scuzball "parents" were allowed to breed is the real crime.
ynkrock7
May 23, 2013 10:04 AM CDT
I recently saw a documentary on youtube about biotechnology (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i5qRsunpJ0) hosted by Michio Kaku, the famous Japanese-American theoretical physicist you've all likely seen one time or another but might not remember. There was a segment dedicated to regenerative medicine. The amazing thing is that this documentary come out in 2007; only a few years later, regenerated organs have been transplanted successfully. It's really awe-inspiring to think of how far medicine can go with the near exponential improvement of technology. To those of you that are interested in this kind of stuff, I highly recommend checking out that documentary. I know it's a bit outdated but it's worthwhile nonetheless.
FlowerPower
May 23, 2013 9:46 AM CDT
This is unnatural! Tradition states this child should have died! We must always follow traditional medicine ! Change is verboten!! Also bring back leeches! Tradition!!!