Washington, Oct 7 :
In a ray of hope for patients suffering from congenital abnormalities and those who have undergone surgery or suffered traumatic injury, US researchers are planning for a human trial of lab-grown penises in next five years.
Scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, have successfully engineered the first six lab-grown human penises.
They are now waiting for the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval to move forward with what they call “in-man” testing, Guardian reported.
“Our target is to get the organs into patients with injuries or congenital abnormalities,” professor Anthony Atala, director of the institute, was quoted as saying.
He supervised the successful engineering of penises for rabbits in 2008.
“The rabbit studies were very encouraging,” he noted.
Currently, men can have a penis reconstructed using a flap from their forearm or thigh with a penile prosthetic implanted to simulate an erection.
“My concern is that they might struggle to recreate a natural erection,” Asif Muneer from University College hospital, London was quoted as saying.
The breakthrough technique involves constructing a collagen “scaffold” out of a donor penis.
The scaffold is washed with a special solution that removes the donor’s DNA, then injected with cells from the patient’s penis – which can be retrieved internally even if no organ remains on the surface.
The work is funded by the US Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine.