Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Laboratory-grown vaginas implanted in patients

Date:
April 10, 2014
Source:
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
Scientists reported the first human recipients of laboratory-grown vaginal organs. They have described long-term success in four teenage girls who received vaginal organs that were engineered with their own cells.

The scaffold is configured into a vaginal shape.
Credit: Image courtesy of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Scientists reported today the first human recipients of laboratory-grown vaginal organs. A research team led by Anthony Atala, M.D., director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine, describes in the Lancet long-term success in four teenage girls who received vaginal organs that were engineered with their own cells.

"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."

The girls in the study were born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare genetic condition in which the vagina and uterus are underdeveloped or absent. The treatment could also potentially be applied to patients with vaginal cancer or injuries, according to the researchers.

The girls were between 13 and 18 years old at the time of the surgeries, which were performed between June 2005 and October 2008. Data from annual follow-up visits show that even up to eight years after the surgeries, the organs had normal function.

"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 Atlantida-Raya Rivera, lead author and director of the HIMFG Tissue Engineering Laboratory at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City, where the surgeries were performed.

In addition, the patients' responses to a Female Sexual Function Index questionnaire showed they had normal sexual function after the treatment, including desire and pain-free intercourse.

The organ structures were engineered using muscle and epithelial cells (the cells that line the body's cavities) from a small biopsy of each patient's external genitals. In a Good Manufacturing Practices facility, the cells were extracted from the tissues, expanded and then placed on a biodegradable material that was hand-sewn into a vagina-like shape. These scaffolds were tailor-made to fit each patient.

About five to six weeks after the biopsy, surgeons created a canal in the patient's pelvis and sutured the scaffold to reproductive structures. Previous laboratory and clinical research in Atala's lab has shown that once cell-seeded scaffolds are implanted in the body, nerves and blood vessels form and the cells expand and form tissue. At the same time the scaffolding material is being absorbed by the body, the cells lay down materials to form a permanent support structure -- gradually replacing the engineered scaffold with a new organ.

Followup testing on the lab-engineered vaginas showed the margin between native tissue and the engineered segments was indistinguishable and that the scaffold had developed into tri-layer vaginal tissue.

Current treatments for MRHK syndrome include dilation of existing tissue or reconstructive surgery to create new vaginal tissue. A variety of materials can be used to surgically construct a new vagina -- from skin grafts to tissue that lines the abdominal cavity. However, these substitutes often lack a normal muscle layer and some patients can develop a narrowing or contracting of the vagina.

The researchers say that with conventional treatments, the overall complication rate is as high as 75 percent in pediatric patients, with the need for vaginal dilation due to narrowing being the most common complication.

Before beginning the pilot clinical study, Atala's team evaluated lab-built vaginas in mice and rabbits beginning in the early 1990s. In these studies, scientists discovered the importance of using cells on the scaffolds. Atala's team used a similar approach to engineer replacement bladders that were implanted in nine children beginning in 1998, becoming the first in the world to implant laboratory-grown organs in humans. The team has also successfully implanted lab-engineered urine tubes (urethras) into young boys.

The team said the current study is limited because of its size, and that it will be important to gain further clinical experience with the technique and to compare it with established surgical procedures.

Co-researchers were James J. Yoo, M.D., Ph.D., and Shay Soker, Ph.D., Wake Forest Baptist, and Diego R. Esquiliano M.D., Reyna Fierro-Pastrana P.hD., Esther Lopez-Bayghen Ph.D., Pedro Valencia M.D., and Ricardo Ordorica-Flores, M.D.,Children's Hospital Mexico Federico Gomez Metropolitan Autonomous University, Mexico.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Atlántida M Raya-Rivera, Diego Esquiliano, Reyna Fierro-Pastrana, Esther López-Bayghen, Pedro Valencia, Ricardo Ordorica-Flores, Shay Soker, James J Yoo, Anthony Atala. Tissue-engineered autologous vaginal organs in patients: a pilot cohort study. The Lancet, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60542-0

Cite This Page:

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "Laboratory-grown vaginas implanted in patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140410194326.htm>.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. (2014, April 10). Laboratory-grown vaginas implanted in patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140410194326.htm
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "Laboratory-grown vaginas implanted in patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140410194326.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins