The Extracellular Matrix


A common question people ask is: “Will I really be getting a dead guy’s foreskin?” The answer is effectively no.

As you may recall from your high school biology class, the cell is the building block of life. There are some single cell organisms, but humans are made up of trillions. However, when cells number in the trillions, they need something to hold them together. In humans, our cells produce something known as the Extracellular Matrix (“ECM”). The ECM holds all of the cells together and ensures that cells are properly differentiated. It is made mostly of collagen. As I said before, usually it is produced by the cells themselves. However, what Foregen is doing is taking a foreskin from a deceased donor (never from an infant who did not consent as that is unethical in every sense), stripping away the cells using a chemical that is similar to detergent, and then recellularizing it with your cells. What this means is that in the end, what will be attached to you is the the ECM of a deceased male seeded with your own cells.


            The process that Foregen is using has been used by other scientists to create other organs and has been quite successful. Hence why Foregen is using it. It does not in anyway involve receiving donated cells, they will be entirely your own. This is good for a number of reasons. The first is when you receive an organ transplant your immune system begins to attack it. With this, people who receive organ transplants typically need to take immunosuppressants for the rest of their lives. This not only harms their immune system, but does serious damage to their liver and kidneys. However, in other situations where scientists have regrown organs using one's own stem cells, no such issues have arisen. Additionally, it is a good thing that Foregen is able to use your own cells because let's face it, who wants another man’s cells in their penis. You want your penis to look, feel, and act the way that it would have if you had never been harmed. By using your cells which have a blueprint of how your body is supposed to look, Foregen can accomplish this.


            By now, you are likely thinking, but what about the donated ECM. The thing about the ECM is it regenerates over time as well. Just like the cells it keeps in check, it disintegrates and is reproduced. In one study scientists used a pig’s intestines for an ECM that would be used to help regrow part of a human heart. What they found was that after one year, the donated ECM was 95% gone and had been replaced by the patient’s own tissue. Only small metal fragments remained. The fact that this was only 95% was likely because they actually built an ECM in that case and used metal as part of it. Using a donated organic ECM would likely lead to 100% being regenerated as normal tissue. This new ECM would be built in accordance with the instructions provided by the DNA in the cells. Thus again, creating a foreskin that will be exactly like the one that was amputated.


Further Reading:

"First Ever Implantation of Bioabsorbable Biostar Device at DHZB". DHZB NEWS. December 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-05. The almost transparent collagen matrix consists of medically purified pig intestine, which is broken down by the scavenger cells (macrophages) of the immune system. After about 1 year the collagen has been almost completely (90-95%) replaced by normal body tissue: only the tiny metal framework remains. An entirely absorbable implant is currently under development.


Article by Joshua

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