Emily's Story

When Emily was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome and needed a bone marrow transplant, she was determined to get through this hurdle and back to school as quickly as possible. She was athletic and full of fun and a joy to everyone around her. Sadly, she developed a terrible complication where the bone marrow transplant rejected her lungs and irreversibly damaged them.

Emily left an indelible mark on all who knew her and inspired Dr. Brigitte Gomperts, one of her treating physicians, to develop a way to make new personalized lungs. This cutting-edge technology uses a patient's own adult cells to make stem cells that can then make any cell of the body. Dr. Gomperts' team is using these stem cells to make the 3-dimensional lung sacs that exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.

The goal is to make designer lungs from cells from any patient who needs new lungs. In this way, as the lungs are made from the patient's own cells, rejection cannot occur and in the future patients like Emily would have a chance at a cure.