Healthday reports today that scientists have developed a tissue engineering solution for rabbits with difficult cases of impotence:
A condition called “corporal fibrosis” — where the tubes of penile “spongy tissue” that maintain erection are gradually replaced by inactive, fibrous scar tissue — remains largely untreatable. The disorder occurs when the penis’ sensitive spongy-tissue cells don’t get the oxygen they need to survive, usually because of a chronic reduction in blood flow.
…In their latest study, the Wake Forest researchers first used standard biopsy techniques to harvest smooth-muscle and blood-vessel cells from the penises of healthy adult male rabbits. In the lab, the researchers used these cells to “seed” a special nutrient-rich collagen matrix. Over time, the cells multiplied within this framework to grow into new penile tissue.
Next, the team surgically removed all of the natural spongy tissue from the penises of the donor rabbits. They then grafted in the engineered tissue.
Atala’s group tracked the rabbits’ penile growth and function over the next one, three and six months.
The researchers found that the new penises were similar in structure to natural rabbit penises. The “artificial penis” also achieved and maintained erectile pressures equal to those of normal rabbit penises.
Next came the real test, as the rabbits that had received the new penises were presented with sexually mature females.
Things proceeded just as nature intended, the researchers said.
Well, we hope nature intended for the rabbits to go on several dates to get to know each other before trying out the new equipment.
You can read the full article here…