Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek


Filed under: News | Technology News


Lab-Grown Organs like Vaginas and Noses are Now Possible

Apr 12 2014, 1:30pm CDT | by

1 Updates
Lab-Grown Organs like Vaginas and Noses are Now Possible

Photo Credit: Forbes

YouTube Videos Comments

Full Story

Lab-Grown Organs like Vaginas and Noses are Now Possible

The capacity of science to grow human organs in the lab – and successfully implant them back into the people from whose cells they came – has grown terrifically in recent years. Two new studies in The Lancet this week show that this process isn’t just a theory, it’s a practice. One study showed how lab-grown vaginas were implanted into teenaged girls who had a rare genetic disorder causing their vaginas to partially or fully absent from birth. Another study regrew the nose tissue of older people whose noses had been partially lost to skin cancer relatively late in life. The two studies are very different examples of what’s possible in the regeneration or new generation of missing organs, and they point to intriguing possibilities for the future.

The first study, out of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, set out to generate fully functional vaginas for teenaged girls who were affected by Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare genetic condition, in which the vagina and uterus are partially or fully unformed. The condition affects about 1 in 5,000 females. Previous treatments have involved construction of the vagina from various other types of tissue, none of which worked very well, and came with several different functional or hygienic drawbacks.

So in the current study, the researchers took tissue samples of muscle cells and epithelial cells from the girls’ own external genitalia to create new organs. They first applied the cells to a vagina-shaped scaffolds formed out of material that could later be implanted into (and absorbed by) the body. For a few weeks, the cells were allowed to grow on the scaffolds in incubators, and then they were sutured into a canal the surgeons created in the girls’ pelvises.

“This is not like a defective organ that you augment or something you put in between two places,” lead author Anthony Atala told CNN. “We had to create the organ. We put it in de novo (anew).”

And the results were overwhelmingly positive. The new organs took hold and grew into the participants’ bodies successfully. The research team kept track of how the participants were doing over eight more years, and found they were doing well, both physiologically and psychologically.

“Tissue biopsies, MRI scans and internal exams using magnification all showed that the engineered vaginas were similar in makeup and function to native tissue,” said study author Atlantida-Raya Rivera. Perhaps equally telling, a questionnaire known as the Female Sexual Function Index showed that the women reported normal “desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and painless intercourse” in the years following.

“This pilot study is the first to demonstrate that vaginal organs can be constructed in the lab and used successfully in humans,” said Atala. “This may represent a new option for patients who require vaginal reconstructive surgeries. In addition, this study is one more example of how regenerative medicine strategies can be applied to a variety of tissues and organs.”

Indeed, a second study in the same journal showed how partially missing body parts can also be repaired using a related method. Here, researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland used nose cartilage samples from older participants who’d battled skin cancer and had parts of their noses removed as a result. They took cartilage cells from the patients’ nasal septa, grew them on a collagen membrane, shaped them according to the needs of the patient, and implanted the tissue back into the nose. A year later, the patients reported that they were happy with the results, both in terms of breathing capacity, and in the way they looked.

Both studies, as well as several others over the last few years, highlight the reality of “lab-grown” organs. And this is just the beginning. The lives of people who are missing partial or full organs, either as the result of genetic disorder present from birth or an accident or illness much later in life, will be greatly changed. And this, of course, will play out not only in how other people perceive them, but in how they perceive themselves.

Follow me @alicewalton or find me on Facebook.


You Might Also Like


Sponsored Update


More From the Web

Shopping Deals


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Miss America 2014 Parade to Feature First Ever 3D Printed Shoes
Miss America 2014 Parade to Feature First Ever 3D Printed Shoes
Thanks to Maggie Bridges and Georgia Tech, we will see the first 3D printed shoes on the stage of the shoe parade
Vicki Gunvalson Flirting With David Beador
Vicki Gunvalson Flirting With David Beador
The Real Housewives of Orange County star Vicki Gunvalson admitted flirting with "hot" co-star David Beador
Clint Eastwood advises Harry Styles to stay fit
Clint Eastwood advises Harry Styles to stay fit
Harry Styles 'follows Clint Eastwood's advice by using exhausting military-style fitness regime'
Kate Beckinsale featuring in &#039;The Disappointments Room&#039;
Kate Beckinsale featuring in 'The Disappointments Room'
Lucas Till Joins Kate Beckinsale in the thriller movie

About the Geek Mind

The “geek mind” is concerned with more than just the latest iPhone rumors, or which company will win the gaming console wars. I4U is concerned with more than just the latest photo shoot or other celebrity gossip.

The “geek mind” is concerned with life, in all its different forms and facets. The geek mind wants to know about societal and financial issues, both abroad and at home. If a Fortune 500 decides to raise their minimum wage, or any high priority news, the geek mind wants to know. The geek mind wants to know the top teams in the National Football League, or who’s likely to win the NBA Finals this coming year. The geek mind wants to know who the hottest new models are, or whether the newest blockbuster movie is worth seeing. The geek mind wants to know. The geek mind wants—needs—knowledge.

Read more about The Geek Mind.