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Wake Forest Research Could Help Erectile Dysfunction Patients

Researchers at Wake Forest said they've used tissue engineering techniques to completely replace penile erectile tissue in animals, a process that could one day enable surgeons to reconstruct and restore function to damaged or diseased penile tissue in humans.
/ Source: WXII12.com

WXII12.com

Researchers at Wake Forest said they've used tissue engineering techniques to completely replace penile erectile tissue in animals, a process that could one day enable surgeons to reconstruct and restore function to damaged or diseased penile tissue in humans.

The researchers said they were able to grow the replacement tissue in rabbits, and after the implantation, the rabbits were able to have normal sexual function and produce offspring.

“Further studies are required, of course, but our results are encouraging and suggest that the technology has considerable potential for patients who need penile reconstruction,” said Dr. Anthony Atala, the director at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine. “Our hope is that patients with congenital abnormalities, penile cancer, traumatic injury and some cases of erectile dysfunction will benefit from this technology in the future.”

Reconstructing damaged or diseased penile erectile tissue has traditionally been a challenge because of the tissue’s unique structure and complex function, the university said, and there is no replacement for this tissue that allows for normal sexual function.

Various surgeries have been attempted, often multi-stage procedures that can involve a silicone penile prosthesis, but natural erectile function is generally not restored.

The team was the first in the world to engineer a human organ in the laboratory and many of the same techniques used to build bladders were used in the current study, the university said.

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