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When the world-famous Karolinska Institutet (KI) in Stockholm hired Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, he was considered a star surgeon and groundbreaking stem cell researcher.  Handsome, charming and charismatic, Macchiarini was known as a trailblazer in a field that holds hope for curing a vast array of diseases.

He claimed that he was regenerating human windpipes by seeding plastic scaffolds with stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow—a holy grail in medicine because the body will not reject its own cells. For patients who had trouble breathing due to advanced illness, a trachea made of their own cells would be a game-changer. Supposedly, the bone marrow cells repopulated the synthetic scaffolds with functioning, mucus-secreting epithelial cells, creating a new trachea that would become integrated into the patient’s respiratory system as a living, breathing part. Macchiarini said as much in a dazzling presentation to his new colleagues at Karolinska, which is home to the Nobel Assembly – the body that has awarded the Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine since 1901.

…continue reading’A Star Surgeon Left a Trail of Dead Patients—and His Whistleblowers Were Punished’

Image: Av Anonymous100000 – Eget arbete, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34814574

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