Our son Tuffel lost all of his small bowel at birth. He was given a week to live. We were told if he was to live he would be in hospital for 4 years minimum and be stuck to wires and pumps 24/7.
They asked us if we wanted to stop treatment and we said no. They warned us about the many dangers even if he did make it. From the high risk of deadly infections to liver damage.
We refused to give up. We left hospital after 8 months and have been in and out of hospital since.
Tuffel is off his machine for 12 hours each day and can live a good life then. You would not know there is anything different with him if you met him in the street! Yes, we go to hospital a lot and yes, he undergoes many operations and yes, we face many dangers in the future.
He is a very happy boy and he loves life.
They said it was impossible but we will prove them wrong.
I found an amazing researcher called Dr Paolo De Coppi.
He is working with Great Ormond Street Hospital.
He is using stem cells (he gains from our skin) to create new tissue to generate organs without the risk of rejection. It is the only solution for us and will be able to help so many other people.
You can be part of developing one of the most important advancement in modern medicine.
This could be as significant a breakthrough as antibiotics was.
Stem Cell Research:
Pioneering rejection-free organs grown from patients’ own cells
We urgently need to raise funds to support the work of Dr Paolo De Coppi who, over the next 5 years is looking to revolutionise organ transplantation for children & adults.
Great Ormond Street Hospital sees thousands of children every year who need an organ transplant. Many of these children are very sick and current transplant techniques carry significant risks this, coupled with the declining availability of donor organs, mean that we are in desperate need of a better option.
Paolo De Coppi, Clinical Senior Lecturer at the UCL Institute of Child Health and Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital, continually sees the devastating effects of multiple reconstructive operations aimed at replacing or repairing a child’s damaged organs and is now seeking to provide an alternative. Embodying the kind of translational research for which Great Ormond Street Hospital is famous, Paolo and his team hope to be able to engineer rejection-free organs and healthy tissues for transplant, built up using a child’s very own living cells. If successful, this unique programme of clinically-focussed research will ultimately help to reduce the burden of surgery for children born with damaged or failing organs, minimise the risk of transplant rejection and overcome reliance on donated organs which are often in critically short supply.
Great Ormond Street Hospital and the UCL Institute for Child Health:
Working together to bring research to life
Together with the UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH) Great Ormond Street Hospital is the largest centre for paediatric research in Europe. Our child- focused research ethos enables the rapid translation of basic scientific findings to the clinic and we are uniquely placed to deliver this bench-to-bedside approach. For some of the conditions we see, we are either the only national service provider, or one of just a handful of UK centres with the necessary specialist expertise. These children often cannot be cared for elsewhere, and are not seen in sufficient numbers to support meaningful research in non-specialist centres. It is our duty therefore to undertake research to advance understanding, improve treatments and develop new strategies for prevention.
It is important to note that research undertaken here at Great Ormond Street has far reaching impact beyond the hospital’s immediate patient base, both nationally and internationally. To ensure our knowledge is helping as many children as possible, our doctors and scientists communicate and collaborate with their counterparts in sister medical institutions across the world on a daily basis.
The first Great Ormond Street Hospital transplant of an organ grown from stem cells
In March 2010,Paolo De Coppi made headlines around the world when his team reported unique success in transplanting a replacement trachea, grown from a patient’s own stem cells. Their pioneering new treatment saved the life of 11-year-old Ciaran who was born with a fatal narrowing of his windpipe. This significant milestone has paved the way for research into the regeneration of other organs including the oesophagus and the small bowel.
The next step, growing more organs from stem cells
In collaboration with other researchers worldwide, Paolo is gradually increasing the complexity of the organs he is working with. He and his team have already made progress towards engineering donated intestines, so that they can be implanted without rejection. However, the complex structure of the intestine, particularly its capacity to absorb nutrients, makes it a more challenging organ to transplant and recreate.
The next organ his team is aiming to develop is an artificial oesophagus which he hopes can help us understand more complex organs such as the intestine. Paolo’s team aim to learn from each organ and ultimately increase the complexity of those they grow.
How you can help
Paolo De Coppi is working at the forefront of children’s medicine and each step forward is breaking new ground. Paolo and his team are uniquely placed to advance the field of regenerative medicine; their work has real potential to transform clinical practice. If we are to change the lives of children like Tuffel, (pictured) who are affected by diseases, we need to invest not only in finding vital cures and treatments. To support Paolo we need to fund both the expansion of his specialist research team and the space, equipment and infrastructure to maximise the impact of his work. Key to this aim is the planned establishment of a dedicated unit for his team within a new Centre for Children’s Rare Disease Research that will provide the facilities and infrastructure to need to support Paolo in his research.
Paolo and his team continue to push the boundaries of stem cell science but we urgently need charitable funds to support and accelerate this pioneering research programme. Research takes time and, for many children time is of the essence.
Our aim is to use amniotic fluid stem cells alongside the latest developments in nanotechnology, to design and grow personalised replacement tissues for children & adults who urgently need surgery at the point they’re born, or whose organs are failing. My hope is that soon we might build organs such as the gullet and the intestine, and one day complex functional organs that can grow with children, such as the liver or the kidney, which might eliminate the need for organ donors. We’ve got a patient population that urgently need these alternatives if we’re to offer them long-term quality of life. Charitable support is crucial for us to advance this work.”
Paolo De Coppi, Clinical senior lecturer and consultant paediatric surgeon
This clinical work is the beginning of what could be a revolutionary new line of treatment for children who currently face a significantly reduced quality of life, due to multiple reconstructive operations. Together with Paolo and his team we hope to continue the research program that over the next five years will ensure that Paolo can continue his revolutionary work and potentially help save the lives of the thousands of children & adults who suffer from organ failure worldwide every year. This is no longer science fiction it is a reality close to realization.
Donate now and help progress rejection free organ transplant. It could save you one day.