Scientists claim they have found a way to replace penile erectile tissue and function in rabbits – offering new hope to men.
“This technology has considerable potential for patients requiring penile construction,” wrote researchers in the academic publication, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The US university scientists rebuilt the erectile tissue of the penis from donor cells in rabbits. After the tissue was implanted, the rabbits were able to mate as soon as they were introduced to females. Four of the twelve test females were impregnated.
Team leader Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest University’s Institute of Regenerative Medicine was reported as saying that the results were encouraging and that the research may one day lead to treatments for a wide range of human problems including penile cancer or injury and some cases of erectile dysfunction.
During the study, scientists harvested cells from the animals' erectile tissue which were then multiplied in the laboratory and then implanted into the animals' penis. From this, erectile tissue started to grow a month later.
The scientists reported that the proceedure appeared to make the test rabbits randier than normal. A control group didn't attempt to mate when they were introduced to females but the 'bioengineered' rabbits all attempted mating with one minute of the introduction.
The same Wake Forest University team were the first to engineer a rudimentary human organ in the laboratory. Bladders constructed by the scientists have been implanted in around 30 patients