Suffering from a rare disease that deprived them of a vagina, four women received a transplant of this organ grown in the laboratory. A few years later, their assessment could not be more positive, both in terms of quality of life and sexual activity.
They are four women who can testify today to the success of an operation that looks like a medical feat. Suffering from Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, they were born with an underdeveloped or even absent vagina and uterus. During their adolescence, between 2005 and 2008, these four women received a special vaginal graft, these having been cultured in the laboratory by scientists from the Institute of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for Regenerative Medicine from cells taken from organs genitalia of each patient.
About ten years after these operations, these women as well as the doctors who carried out follow-ups are positive: they enjoy a very good quality of life and perfectly normal sexual activity.
The medical prowess is immense, especially when we know that each vagina grown in the laboratory has been » sewn by hand to adopt a vagina shape « . He was then » made a channel in the patient’s body in order to slide the tube-shaped organ into it “, teaches us Motherboard. The body of each of the patients has perfectly integrated and vascularized the organ shortly after the operation.
» In the pilot study, the researchers cultured epithelial and muscle cells on biodegradable cell scaffolds. After the organs grew in an incubator, these were implanted by perineal approach. The researchers documented the patient’s history and carried out all the necessary physical examinations (vaginoscopy, biopsy, MRI), before asking the patients to complete a standardized sexual function questionnaire. […] After 81 months of follow-up, the answers to the questionnaires highlight excellent results concerning the sexual function and the quality of life of the patients. The implanted vagina has developed as expected, and annual biopsies show that the vaginal wall of the patients is perfectly normal write the researchers in the journal The Lancet.
This total success opens the door to a bright future for all of regenerative medicine. Indeed, to date, if the organ development protocols are successful, it is the transplants that are complicated. For Anthony Atala, a member of the medical team responsible for this success, this proves that regenerative medicine has made a leap forward.
» This pilot study is the first to demonstrate that a vagina can be grown in the laboratory and easily implanted in women. This technique could therefore be a new option for patients who need vaginal reconstructive surgery. Moreover, this study shows that regeneration can be applied to a wide variety of tissues and organs. “, he said in a press release.