US researchers replace penile erectile tissue in rabbits

10 Oct 2014

US researchers reported successfully replacing penile erectile tissue in rabbits, marking a procedure that could potentially be used on men with penile injures, penile cancer or congenital abnormalities.

This is the most complete replacement of functional penile erectile tissue reported to date, according to Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center described their work in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The procedure involved the use of rabbits’ cells to engineer replacement penile erectile tissue in the laboratory. After this replacement tissue was implanted into the rabbits, the animals displayed normal sexual function and even produced offspring.

Anthony Atala, MD, chair of urology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, said further studies are needed but the results suggest the technology may be useful in the future for patients who need penile reconstruction.

Rabbit image via Shutterstock

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Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic