Artificial trachea created by Nanofiber Solutions helps cancer patient

A collaboration between Nanofiber Solutions LLC and Harvard Bioscience has produced the first U.S.-made synthetic trachea created from nanofibers to be successfully transplanted into a human.

Columbus-based Nanofiber Solutions last week announced the transplant of its tracheal implant into Christopher Lyles, a 30-year-old Baltimore resident who was diagnosed with inoperable tracheal cancer.

The transplant was performed Nov. 17 at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, Stockholm by Professor Paolo Macchiarini of Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet. Macchiarini led an international team that included Nanofiber Solution’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Jed Johnson, and members of Harvard Bioscience.

“This was truly a team effort,” says Ross Kayuha, CEO of Nanofiber Solutions. “From our perspective, the team synergy worked exceptionally well. From the early stages of implant design involving the surgeons and Dr. Johnson to the development of the Harvard Bioscience bioreactor that seeded the implant with the patient’s stem cells, through the surgery itself, performed by a world-class surgical team headed by Dr. Macchiarini, there was a real sense of urgency to produce a result that would benefit Mr. Lyles in the best possible way.”

Specifically, Johnson designed and built the nanofiber tracheal scaffold to match the dimensions of Lyles’ trachea while Harvard Bioscience made a custom bioreactor used to seed the scaffold with his stem cells.

The nanofibers mimic the structure of the native trachea and create a more porous scaffold in which to seed stem cells. The cells were grown on the scaffold inside the bioreactor for two days before the transplant procedure. The doctors say the transplant has not been rejected because the cells used to regenerate the trachea  are the patient’s own.

Although the procedure is the world’s second successful transplant of an artificial trachea, it is the first time electrospun nanofibers have been used to create the scaffold.

Nanofiber Solutions was founded two years ago as an extension of  Johnson’s doctoral research at The Ohio State University. The company is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of products that advance life science research, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Nanofiber Solutions is a 2009 recipient of a TechGenesis grant from TechColumbus, and is located within the incubator.

To learn more about Nanofiber Solutions, visit