For the first time in history, scientists have successfully implanted lab-grown vaginal organs in human patients.

The organs, grown with the patients’ own tissue, were implanted between June 2005 and October 2008 in four teenage girls who each lacked or had an underdeveloped vagina and uterus, the result of a rare genetic condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome.

Years after the two-hour procedures, annual follow-up visits showed that the surgeries had been a success: The new organs functioned normally, including during sex, and their tissue was indistinguishable from the native tissue that had already been there.

The findings offer hope not only for those with MRKH syndrome, but also for those suffering from vaginal cancers or injuries.

“This pilot study is the first to demonstrate that vaginal organs can be constructed in the lab and used successfully in humans,” said Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which took part in the procedures. “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.”

If ultimately approved by the FDA – a prospect that still remains years away – the operation may even become an option for men seeking a sex change.

The process was carried out by specialists from medical centers in both the U.S. and Mexico. First, doctors took a biopsy of each patient’s external genitals, extracting muscle and epithelial cells, or cells that line the body’s cavities.

Click this link to read the full story: In Medical First, Scientists Implant Lab-Grown Vaginas in Human Patients – US News.

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