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article imageRabbits grow new penises

By Ken Wightman     Nov 10, 2009 in Health
Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are all good but for more than a third of men with ED they don't solve the problem. Now researchers have grown fully functioning penile tissue in rabbits. If any animal knows good erectile tissue, it's the prolific little bunny.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Dr. Anthony Atala asks, "If a salamander can grow a new limb, why can't a person?" Now, Dr. Atala and his team at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine are raising a new question (and it's not all they are raising), "If a rabbit can grow new penile tissue, why can't a man?"
We've all seen the ads for drugs to help men with erectile dysfunction (ED). Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are all heavily promoted. Unfortunately about 35 per cent of men do not respond to these drugs, despite all the smiling faces on television.
The tissue in the penis has a unique structure and unique properties to match its unique use. At present there is no replacement for damaged or diseased penile tissue. In situations where surgery has been attempted, natural erectile function is rarely improved.
Now, it is possible to believe that that may no longer always be the case, thanks to the Wake Forest Baptist team.
According to a university news release, ". . . researchers report success using cells from rabbits to grow replacement penile erectile tissue for the animals in the laboratory. After implantation with the replacement tissue, the rabbits had normal sexual function and produced offspring."
Scientists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center are well known for their work, engineering human organs in the laboratory. The team is responsible for the engineered bladders implanted in almost 30 children and adults. They are presently working to grow more than 22 different organs and tissues in the laboratory.
Many of the same techniques learned in building bladders were used by the scientists to rebuild the rabbit penises. Someday, salamanders may be envious of us.
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