Skip to content

    Men's Health

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Lab-Grown Replacement Penis in Future?

    Success in Animals Could Mean Treatment Some Day for Human Injuries and Birth Defects
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    May 23, 2006 – It's now possible to replace a defective, damaged, or diseased penis with a penis grown in a laboratory -- in rabbits.

    But the finding promises an amazing new treatment for infants, boys, and men who suffer penis disfigurement. The replacement organ would be grown on a penis-shaped matrix seeded with cells from the patient's own body.

    Researcher Anthony Atala, MD, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, reported the findings at this week’s annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Atlanta.

    "Our goal is eventually to treat infants and adults with birth defects, penis trauma, or penis cancercancer," Atala tells WebMD. "But this is a future goal. We are now deciding which animal model to explore next."

    While human trials are still far off, the Atala team's recent accomplishments make their goal highly credible. Atala and colleagues recently reported successfully using much the same technique to replace defective bladders in human children with spina bifida.

    In the rabbit study, Atala's team removed the penises from rabbits and entirely replaced the organs with penises grown from the animal's own cells.

    Atala says the new penises have blood vessels and nerves that allow them to become fully functional. Indeed, the replacement penises worked like a charm. The rabbits were able to get erections, mate with females, and get females pregnant with normal, healthy pups.

    Today on WebMD

    man coughing
    Men shouldn’t ignore.
    man swinging in hammock
    And how to get out it.
     
    shaving tools
    On your shaving skills.
    muscular man flexing
    Four facts that matter.
     
    Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
    Slideshow
    Thoughtful man sitting on bed
    Quiz
     
    Man taking blood pressure
    Slideshow
    doctor holding syringe
    Slideshow
     
    Condom Quiz
    Quiz
    thumbnail_angry_couple_in_bed
    Slideshow
     
    man running
    Quiz
    older couple in bed
    Video