WHAT! Now an injured penis can be repaired with functional reconstruction? Recently, this study has been proven by Professor An Geng and his team, from the third affiliated hospital of Guangzhou Medical University. The results were published in the international journal "Nature Communications".

The researh results were published in the international journal "Nature Communications" on June 1st.

Generally speaking, this study uses 3D printing technology to repair an injured corpus cavernosa and may be promising to achieve effective corpus cavernosa repair in preclinical and clinical applications.

It has effectively repaired the corpus cavernosa defects in a rabbit model, with function recovery restoring the reproductive capability and baby rabbits were successfully born due to the recovery.

According to Professor An, the technology is still in the animal experiment stage, and it is expected to be used in the clinic in the next ten years to help men with penile deformities, abnormal development and penile cavernous injuries.

Injury of corpus cavernosa results in erectile dysfunction, but its treatment has been very difficult and it can't be repaired through surgery, Professor An further explained.

Here comes the idea that to repair injured corpus cavernosa with the help of 3D printing. "It is not difficult to reconstruct hard tissues such as bones and teeth, but it is hard to reconstruct soft tissues such as the corpus cavernosa that can contract and rebound with special mechanical properties,” said An.

Hence, Professor An worked with other scholars including Professor Shi Xutao from the South China University of Technology and Professor Mao Chuanbin from the University of Oklahoma, then constructed heparin-coated 3D-printed hydrogel scaffolds, this is a kind of bio-material like the natural corpus cavernosa.

The schematic illustration of repairing injured corpora cavernosa in rabbits.

The research team implanted the 3D-printed scaffolds and stem cells into corpus cavernosa defects in a rabbit model to show good histocompatibility with no immunological rejection, it supported vascularized tissue ingrowth, and promoted neovascularisation to repair the defects.

Evaluation of morphology, intracavernosal pressure, elasticity and shrinkage of repaired cavernous tissue prove that the bioengineered corpora scaffolds repair the defects and recover penile erectile and ejaculation function successfully. The function recovery restores the reproductive capability of the injured male rabbits.

Researchers raised the injured male rabbit with a female rabbit, and they successfully completed the offspring within four months. Such a study is the first in the world to use stem cells and 3D printing technology to successfully repair the penile cavernous defect of a rabbit and restore its fertility.

In addition to the reconstruction of the injured corpus cavernosa, 3D printing technology has many application prospects such as to repair other vascular tissues (skin, cardiac muscular tissue), said Professor An.

Author: Will

Editors: Keane, Jerry

Editor: Will

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