Published Thursday, 26 July 2012
Ciaran was born with a condition that meant he had a very narrow windpipe. (© PA)
Doctors say Ciaran Finn-Lynch, 13, has grown 11 centimetres in height and returned to school.
He is continuing to live a normal life free from medication to stop his immune system rejecting the transplant.
Ciaran, a pupil at St Joseph's Primary School in Bessbrook was the first child in the world to undergo the pioneering tracheal transplant.
The procedure involved seeding stem cells taken from Ciaran's bone marrow into the collagen "skeleton" of a donor windpipe stripped of its own cells.
Once the structure was implanted, the stem cells matured, grew and divided to create a new organ.
A groundbreaking feature of the treatment was that the stem cells were allowed to mature in Ciaran's body, rather than in a laboratory "bioreactor".
Ciaran, a keen drummer, underwent the operation at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital in March 2010.
The surgery was a desperate attempt to save his life after earlier treatment failed.
The boy was born with a condition called Long Segment Tracheal Stenosis which left him with a very narrow windpipe, making it hard to breathe.
A follow-up report published in The Lancet medical journal on Thursday said the new organ had strengthened and showed no signs of rejection.
Doctors have called for more research to speed up the recovery of future patients and increase the availability of donor windpipes, or tracheas.
Prof Martin Birchall, Professor of Laryngology and a member of the transplant team at Great Ormond Street Hospital said: "We need more research on stem cells grown deliberately inside the body, rather than grown first in a laboratory over a long time.
"This research should help to convert one-off successes such as this into more widely available clinical treatments for thousands of children with severe tracheal problems worldwide."