By Dina Ginzburg
Replacing a vein is no laughing matter. Veins are very important: without them, there would be no way of getting blood to our hearts. A vein that runs between the liver and intestines of a 10-year-old girl became blocked and made her really sick. To help her, doctors in Sweden realized that they would have to give her a new vein.
The problem is veins don’t just grow on trees. The doctors took a vein from a man whohad died and, in a special lab, removed all his cells from it. They then covered it with cells from the girl’s body. Once the cells grew around the vein properly, the doctors transplanted it into her body and removed the old, blocked vein.
This procedure was remarkable because not only did it save a girl’s life, but it was also the first time that a vein was made in a lab. Doctors are excited to see what other body parts can be artificially grown to help more people waiting for transplants.