Feeds

US boffins hail lab-grown rabbit todger

Repaired lapines going at it like, erm...

Build a business case: developing custom apps

US researchers have offered long-term hope to human sufferers of erectile disorder by restoring "sexual function" to rabbits with damaged penises.

The team from the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center grew new penile tissue in the lab. They implanted it into their lapine guinea-pigs and reported they were thereafter once more going at it like er, rabbits.

Specifically, the scientists "extracted smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells" from the animals' members. The former "relaxes, allowing blood to flow into the penis" during an erection, while the latter "line blood vessels [and] trigger the process by releasing nitric oxide".

Healthday News explains: "The cells were then separated and grown in the laboratory on rod-shaped collagen scaffolds for support. The scaffold was placed in an incubator and nourished by fluids to mimic conditions inside the body.

"After the cells had matured, the scaffolding and the newly formed penile spongy tissue, called corpora cavernosa, was surgically implanted into the rabbits' penises."

A month later, "the tissue began to reconstitute itself, forming new blood vessel structures necessary for proper functioning... while nerves from the existing penile tissue integrated into the new tissue".

Subsequent tests showed that that "pressure inside the penis, blood flow, response to nitric oxide, drainage of the blood after the erection and presence of sperm in the female vagina were also normal".

So normal, in fact, that four of a dozen female rabbits on hand to assist the study were impregnated by the reinvigorated males.

Dr Anthony Atala, lead author of the study which will appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said: "We were able to show the tissue was able to integrate and function in the long term, which means we can start planning clinical applications [in humans].

"Our hope is to be able to treat patients with many conditions, including congenital abnormalities of the penis, traumatic injuries, penile cancer and severe cases of erectile dysfunction that don't benefit from drug treatments."

Dr Andrew McCullough, director of male sexual health, fertility and microsurgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, called the results "promising". He said: "It has a long way to go, but the researchers have basically shown they can take cells from an organ, culture them, put them back in and have them be functional.

"This is especially impressive because the penis is an organ that's a very sensitive hydraulic pump, so to speak. During an erection, blood has to flow into the organ. The organ then has to expand and then shut down the drainage so the blood doesn't flow back out. And all of these things are very interrelated."

McCullough concluded that better treatments for erectile dysfunction were a matter of priority for the 35 per cent of affected men who "don't respond to impotence drugs, including Viagra, Cialis and Levitra". ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9000 beer tokens - and counting
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.