A recent study on pigs offers hope for the treatment of penile injuries in humans. As per US News, scientists in China have purportedly created a synthetic tissue that heals wounds and restores normal erectile function in pigs. This artificial tunica albuginea (ATA) mimics the essential fibrous covering of tissue for maintaining erections.
Xuetao Shi, a researcher from the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou and co-author of the paper, remarked, “This is a field that has received little attention, but the associated need is enormous.”
Researchers believe that approximately 50 percent of males between the ages of 40 and 70 suffer from erectile dysfunction. Peyronie’s disease, which causes pain when scar tissue grows in the tunica albuginea sheath that runs the length of the penis, affects approximately 5% of men. A condition of the connective tissue can be caused by an injury sustained during sexual intercourse.
Shi stated that the test results exceeded expectations.
“We anticipated the majority of the difficulties and outcomes of the ATA creation process, but we were nonetheless shocked by the results of the animal studies, in which the penis resumed its usual erection immediately after ATA administration,” said Shi.
Shi elaborated that the ATA achieves tissue-like functionalities by imitating the microstructure of actual tissues. It is possible that the technique can be applied to numerous additional load-bearing tissues. The findings were published in the journal Matter on January 4.
This synthetic tissue was created by the research team using polyvinyl alcohol, which has a comparable coiled fiber structure to natural tissue. In addition, they determined that it will not affect other tissues in the body, a potential side effect of existing treatments.
The researchers found that the artificial tissue restored erectile function in Bama miniature pigs when they evaluated the new technique. After a month of examination, the team concluded that while the artificial tissue did not restore the microstructure of the surrounding natural tissue, it did produce fibrosis comparable to that of normal tissue. After injecting the penis with saline, it also allowed for a regular erection.
It is too soon to determine whether the results of the study would be duplicated in humans. Nonetheless, “a month following the treatment, the data indicated that the ATA group had achieved good but not flawless repair results,” Shi stated in a journal news release.
In most penile injuries, the surrounding nerves and the spongy tissue that runs through the penis shaft are also affected. This makes repairs even more challenging.
“Our study at this stage concentrates on the repair of a particular tissue in the penis, and the next phase will consider the restoration of the complete penile deformity or the fabrication of an artificial penis from a holistic standpoint,” Shi explained.