Entries in Urethras (1)


Lab-Grown Urethras Prove to Be Successful

Comstock/Thinkstock(WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.) -- Severe damage to the urethra leading to the inability to urinate frequently requires reconstructive procedures. The current standard of practice involves growing urethral replacements from the patient's skin in a petri dish.  But skin isn't the same as urethral tissue, so these procedures sometimes lead to improper tissue development necessitating repeated surgeries. But a new study, published in The Lancet, reports a new method of growing urethras using bladder cell, eliminating improper tissue development.

This study focused on five boys with an average age of 11 years with urethral defects. Instead of taking skin samples, the authors swabbed the urethral area for cells and grew them into tubular urethras in a petri dish.  These grafts were then used to replace the damaged urethra.  After three months, the implanted urethras developed a normal appearance with no defects and the children had normal urine flow up to six years after the procedure.

The study authors concluded that this procedure could become an alternative to the current standard of practice, leading to fewer complications and subsequent surgeries.

"The study shows that 'tissues can be engineered using the patients' own cells, and they last long term," said Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and a co-author of the study.

Urethral reconstructive surgery by current methods has only a 50-percent success rate, Dr. Atala told ABC News. However by using tissue from the same organ, with their technique, the chances of failure are greatly reduced. 

Dr. Atala also added that clinical trials are underway for the same procedure in adult patients.

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