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Lab-Grown Intestines Could Help Children with Gastrointestinal Birth Defects

Dr. Tracy Grikschelt of the Saban Research Institute has made a discovery that could help children born with gastrointestinal birth defects. She and her team have actually grown every part of the gastrointestinal tract from tissue left over from children’s surgeries.

According to Dr. Grikscheit, scientists can make the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon in a laboratory.

babyFor a mother likeĀ Stacy Lara, this research breakthrough could mean hope for her son Nathan. At just 18 weeks, Stacy learned that quite a bit of bowel was growing outside of Nathan’s abdomen. He was born with only a few inches of intestine, as opposed to the 6 to 8 feet that healthy children have. For now, this means a lifetime of tube feeding or an organ transplant.

But Dr. Grikscheit hopes to change this. She recently received a $3.4 million grant to begin a clinical trial to study engineered intestines. The benefits could be enormous for children and their families who are born with intestinal defects. While treatment options are available, organs grown from a child’s own cells provide a suite of advantages. It pretty much eliminates the chances of organ rejection, thus eliminating a lifetime of medication. Organs would also be able to grow and self-repair.

Medical breakthrough such as this are chaining the futures for children with birth defects. Better treatment options provide hope for families facing a difficult road ahead.

Intestinal Defects Linked to Prescription Medications

Intestinal birth defects have been linked to the use of prescription drugs during pregnancy. The tragedy is that mothers were not warned that their medication could increase their risk of having a child with birth defects such as gastroschisis and cloacal exstrophy. Intestinal defects have also been linked to painkillers like codeine, anti-depressants such as Zoloft and Prozac, and the fertility drug Clomid.

If you took prescription medication while pregnant and your child was born with a birth defect, you may be eligible for compensation. Drug manufacturers have a duty to inform people of the risks associated with taking their products. They did not do that, and it has caused the suffering of thousands of families. Please contact us immediately to discuss your legal options in a free, no-obligation consultation.

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