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London-based professor developing bionic vagina from pig tissue and stem cells

A surgeon has annouced he is working on creating a bionic Vagina, which if successful will be a huge respite for victims of vaginal cancer and other injuries to the organ.

The pioneering project is being led by Alexander Seifalian, who constructed the first synthetic trachea to be transplanted into a patient.

The synthetic vagina is being developed using a pig’s intestinal Tissue coupled with the patient’s stem cells.

Potential beneficiaries of this innovative project include women who suffer from Mayer–Rokitansky–Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, in which the vagina does not fully develop, or disorders such as vaginal atresia, where the vagina is abnormally closed or absent.

The project is currently underway at the NanoRegMed lab in London. NanoRegMed is one of the very few specialized labs which have dedicated their resources to building customized synthetic organs intended to be used by patients with various disabilities or the ones who require a transplant due to organ failure.

The highly anticipated product is developing steadily but might take up to five years before it reaches a clinical level, depending on funding.

Daily Star Online reported that Seifalian has produced a scaffold in the shape of a vagina. Muscle tissue and cells were extracted from a patient and implanted on to the intestine of a pig.

Nutrients were provided subsequently to nourish the cells and aid their growth and ultimately the cells merged together to form the vaginal tissue.

Explaining the transplantation procedure, Professor Seifalian said: “The construct will be taken from the operating theatre and inserted into the patient. It will then be integrated into surrounding tissue and be a normal organ.” Seifalian is the director and professor of Nanotechnology & Regenerative Medicine at NanoRegMed.

He further explained that to facilitate faster growth of the cells, the vaginal scaffold is kept extremely thin at just 20 micrometers. Seifalian gives due credit to Dr. Anthony Atala, who created many artificial vaginas between 2005 to 2008, and whose work has been the basic premise on which the entire project is built upon.

Seifalian said, “We are working in vaginal meshes. We have taken two approaches, one is the development of a smart scaffold made from graphene nanomaterials. It is very thin at just 20 micrometers and in the shape of a tube with molecules attached to it, allowing the cells to grow faster.”

He also added, “To make the feasibility of the translation easier and much cheaper we extract stem cells from patient fat. This will be done inside an operation theatre.”

Dr. Atala’s experiments showed that cell-seeded scaffolds, once implanted in the host body, allow blood vessels and nerves to expand from the tissue. Also, as the scaffold is being absorbed and acclimatized by the body, the cells form a support structure which ultimately replaces the scaffolding material with a new organ.

Multiple teens, each of whom suffered from undeveloped vaginas and who subscribed to the procedure, said they were able to attain normal sexual function coupled with pain-free intercourse and felt regular sexual desire, according to a Female Sexual Function Index questionnaire.

A variety of materials are used to construct a new vagina, right from skin grafts to abdominal tissue lining. Having said that, many a time the patient’s new vagina is contracted or narrowed, owing to the substitutes lacking a normal muscle tissue.

However, Seifalian has asserted that the greatest barrier in the development of these new tissues/organs with respect to advancement in regenerative technology is the lack of interest on part of the medical industry who do not wish to commercialize and monetize these ingenious projects. Many in the industry fear that due to these unconventional substitutes, a number of pharmaceutical products may lose their market.

He said, “The main problem with regenerative medicine is that medical industries are not interested in taking it on for commercialisation. They find it too expensive, risky in terms of insure or standardisation of product due to living cells and its behaviour.”

“Personally I have made a number off organs including trachea, bypass graft and others but universities were not able to take it to commercialisation,” he added.

Professor Seifalian’s team is also working to create a scaffold of the innermost layer of the placenta.

Another medical figure, Dr. Lana Tatum, has expressed doubts over the functions of a bionic vagina. Tatum is a specialist in the rejuvenation of intimate areas in women.

She said, “To me as a doctor it sounds a bit unrealistic, especially with what we know about the failures of genetic engineering. We don’t really replace all the functions of a cell, we do replicate them but we don’t really know if they are functional in the same way. They might be there but they don’t do as much.

“We can create surgically a passage which we can do from any muscle or tissues. We can do that but we cannot claim that this particular part is going to act like a vagina, it’s a very multi–functional organ,” she added.

Source: hiptoro  

This post first appeared on 5 Important Values Entrepreneurial Parents Can Impart To Their Children, please read the originial post: here

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London-based professor developing bionic vagina from pig tissue and stem cells


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