Monday, November 29th, 2021

Vaginas Grown in Labs Are Implanted In Females With Rare Disorder: Follow Up Shows They’re a Success

Published on June 27, 2016 by   ·   No Comments


Peter Walker | The Guardian

Scientists have successfully implanted vaginas grown in laboratories into four teenage girls who have a congenital condition which meant their own did not develop properly.

The artificial vaginas, engineered from the patient’s own cells and individually made to fit them, allowed the women to later have full sex lives. As well as being a breakthrough in vaginal reconstruction, the US and Mexican scientists responsible for the procedures said it potentially meant other tissues or organs could be laboratory grown and implanted.

“This pilot study is the first to demonstrate that vaginal organs can be constructed in the lab and used successfully in humans,” said lead researcher Dr Anthony Atala from Wake Forest Baptist medical centre in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

“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.”

The patients, who were between 13 and 18, were all born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome (pdf), a rare genetic condition in which the vagina and uterus are underdeveloped or absent.

Using vulva tissue from each patients, the team grew tissue around vagina-shaped biodegradeable scaffolds before implanting the fully formed vagina.

Follow-up tests over a number of years – the first of the implants took place eight years ago, although findings have only just been reported – found the engineered vaginas worked as hoped, with the women reporting they were able to have sex normally, without pain. None had yet become pregnant, but that is believed to be possible.


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