By Daily Mail
Circumcised men may soon be able to undergo a procedure to re-grow their foreskin.Â A U.S. company says it is close to developing a method that will allow menâ€™s foreskins to regenerate â€“ much like a salamander is able to re-grow a limb, the website Motherboard reports.
The procedure will help the growing number of men aggrieved about being circumcised before they had the capacity to consent to the procedure.
These men – who call themselves â€˜intactivistsâ€™ – are becoming increasingly vocal with their outrage at being circumcised.
Many of them are congregating on forums on websites such as foreskin-restoration.net and circumstitions.com, angry that their foreskins were removed before they were old enough to consent or understand the implications of the procedure.
Many complain that they experience de-sensitivity in the head of the penis and cannot enjoy sex in the same way as their non-circumcised peers.
Medical experts are increasingly divided over whether circumcision should be performed.
While some argue there is a wealth of research showing the health benefits, from a reduced risk of sexually transmitted diseases to penile cancer, critics argue circumcision can cause lifelong trauma, diminish sexual satisfaction and put children at risk of lasting physical damage.
In many of the â€˜intactivistâ€™ forums, men discuss options and methods of reversing the procedure.
Now, one company purports it will soon be able to do just that, reports journalist Arikia Millikan for Motherboard.
It claims not only to be able to â€˜re-growâ€™ the removed tissue, but it will also be fully functioning, restoring sensitivity.
Foregen, is a US non-profit organisation â€˜founded to research and implement regenerative medical therapies for circumcised malesâ€™, its website says.
It points to research which found that circumcision leads to loss of sensation in the penis, as well as the potential for psychological damage.
The company, based in Italy, is researching techniques used in regenerative medicine, a branch of medicine which helps people re-grow tissue that has been lost by injury or disease.
Like salamanders, humans naturally have the ability to regenerate while developing in the womb. If a foetus loses a finger, it grows back without forming scar tissue.
It is not known why humans lose the ability to regenerate, but one theory is that the process of scarring â€“ which prevents bleeding â€“ was considered during human evolution to be more important.
Experts working in regenerative medicine have discovered ways of harnessing the â€˜map of the bodyâ€™ present in cellsâ€™ DNA, which allows any part of the body to be regrown, and to inhibit scarring.
So far, scientists and doctors have been able to partially regenerate living human hearts, vaginal tissue, breast tissue as well as fully regenerating bladders and the last joint of a human finger.
Scientists have also been able to regrow functioning penises in rabbits.
Regeneration is carried out by creating an extra-cellular matrix, a â€˜skeletonâ€™ for tissue which provides an attachment point for cells and makes human tissue 3D.
This extra-cellular matrix is then seeded with the appropriate layer of cells, in this case, stem cells that will grow into foreskin.
Foregen says it will draw together experts from the field to find a way to make menâ€™s foreskin grow back.
It will start with experiments on animals with a view to progressing to trials on humans.
In 2013, the company had its first ‘breakthrough’ and was able to ‘decellularize’ bull foreskins – a process which marks the first step towards re-growing the bullâ€™s foreskin.
An organ donation organisation has now given Foregen the permission to acquire human adult foreskins â€“ and they will carry out the same experiments on these.
So far, while they may be close to regrowing foreskin tissue, it is unclear how they will regenerate peripheral nerves.
Writing on its website, Foregen said: â€˜In the short term, we hope to fully regenerate human foreskins.
â€˜Once we have accomplished that, our goal is to advance onto human clinical trials as soon as it is safe to do so.â€™
It says the newly grown foreskin will be fully functioning, as the new tissue reintegrates itself in the body.
This means the body recognises it as its own tissue and will not reject it, as is the case for transplanted organs or grafted skin.