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Artificial Penis Could Help with Erectile Dysfunction

Rabbits with bioengineered penises can successfully mate and produce offspring

TUESDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Rabbits that receive a transplanted bioengineered penis can successfully mate and produce offspring, suggesting that the treatment could eventually help men with erectile problems caused by corporal fibrosis, researchers reported during the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Atlanta.

Anthony Atala, M.D., of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues explored the possibility of engineering and replacing penile corpora. Autologous smooth muscle and endothelial cells obtained from cavernosal biopsies were grown and seeded on a collagen matrix. The cell-seeded constructs were transplanted into rabbits after penile excision.

One month after the procedure, the rabbits were able to mate, produce sperm and eventually produce healthy offspring. Control animals with penile excision only were unable to mate and those with matrices only were unable to ejaculate.

"This study demonstrates that the entire corpora can be engineered for total penile replacement," the authors write. "The engineered tissue is able to achieve adequate structural and functional parameters sufficient for copulation, ejaculation and conception. The technology may be potentially useful in patients with corporal fibrosis."


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