Jorge Bacardi, Mayo Clinic patient and benefactor: I am a walking miracle. Six years ago, or just a little over six years ago, I was on oxygen. I could not walk from here to the elevator by myself, so what has happened to me has been a complete miracle. It has been something that's been given to me, not only by the Lord, but also by Mayo Clinic, by the Transplant Team, which is absolutely fantastic and, of course, needless to say, my better half, who helped me through this, and she was my inspiration. And now, after the transplant, of course, I've gone back to what I've been able to do all my life. I play tennis. I go fishing. I go swimming. I go snorkeling. And so these things that I never expected that I would be able to do, I am able to do now, which is really a miracle.
Cesar M. Keller, M.D., Director, Lung Transplant Program, Mayo Clinic in Florida: One of the questions that becomes is, well, could we build, could we custom build a lung, which could be built with your own cells, so whenever your lung needs to be substituted, whenever you need a transplant of a lung or any other organ, could you custom build that organ so when you receive it, it's yours, made of your own cells, so you will never reject it. You will never receive medications to battle rejection. That's what regenerative medicine is all about, trying to use this technology and trying to make what it appears to be science fiction to be a fact.
Jorge Bacardi: It's a field of study that needs to be encouraged. It needs to be supported. And, to me, it's a field of medicine that is definitely the future.
Dr. Keller: So there's a lot of people that is thankful for obviously all of us that belong to the science part of that process. We are very thankful for the opportunity that something that you may have an idea can actually be put into action. Obviously the patients that received the eventual benefit of all that research are very thankful and just raising the hope that something better can happen in the future.
Jorge Bacardi: The miracle that Mayo Clinic has, in fact, achieved for me, is a gift that cannot be repaid.