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The Mass Production of Living Tissue

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the syfy-has-already-bought-movie-rights dept.

Biotech 157

An anonymous reader sends in this moderately disturbing quote from Gizmodo: "I'm touching a wet slab of protein, what feels like a paper-thin slice of bologna. It's supple, slimy, but unlike meat, if you were to slice it down the center today, tomorrow the wound would heal. It's factory-grown living tissue. The company behind the living, petri-dish-grown substance known as Apligraf hates my new name for it: meat band-aid. 'It's living,' Dr. Damien Bates, Chief Medical Officer at Organogenesis, corrects me. 'Meat isn't living.' But no one argues with me that this substance is really just a band-aid. A living, $1500 band-aid, I should say. Apligraf is a matrix of cow collagen, human fibroblasts and keratinocyte stem cells (from discarded circumcisions), that, when applied to chronic wounds (particularly nasty problems like diabetic sores), can seed healing and regeneration. But Organogenesis is not interested in creating boutique organs for proof of concept scientific advancement. They're a business in the business of mass tissue manufacturing — and the first of its kind."

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Alternative. (-1, Flamebait)

Luke727 (547923) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098738)

Just pay me $20 and I'll fuck your girlfriend instead.

Re:Alternative. (1)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098940)

Wank off. We'll save $20

On the plus side (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100518)

This might finally change all the viagra spam.

New and improved "factory" model spam instead. It will be a sick, sick day the spam changes ...

Don't laugh... (2, Funny)

Slur (61510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100732)

...it's a real growth industry.

Science Fiction Reality (2, Interesting)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098762)

Many a SciFi story I've read has used this kind of thing for wounds. I wonder how soon until they have it to the point where these slices are vacuum packed and you can open it and stuff it into a wound in the field?

Re:Science Fiction Reality (5, Informative)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098974)

Many a SciFi story I've read has used this kind of thing for wounds. I wonder how soon until they have it to the point where these slices are vacuum packed and you can open it and stuff it into a wound in the field?

A little while.

There are two main approaches to using non-autologous grafting approaches. One is the matrix approach, where the material grafted is not tissue per se, but rather an organic matrix that is suitable for colonization by the autologous tissues and provides an environment conducive to growth. Such matrices are already being used in fields of orthopedic surgery and surgical dentistry to cause bone growth.

The second approach, which appears to be this company's goal, is to create graftable tissues in-vitro. Please note that this isn't really a new idea, since ex-vivo grown "skin" has been available for at least a couple of years now. While the method described in TFA is potentially both more effective and has a wider range of use, it seems to me that it would likely require careful surgical grafting in order to supply the graft with blood vessels, so it's unlikely that we'd be able to just stuff it into the wound right away.

However, given how quickly our knowledge of the mechanisms of angiogenesis (blood vessel growth and proliferation) has expanded in the last decade due to the research into tumor progression, I can envision that in the relatively near future we would be able to embed sufficient angiogenesis-mediating factors into the ex-vivo grown tissues that under.

Re:Science Fiction Reality (4, Informative)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098988)

Correction: last sentence should read:

" ...I can envision that in the relatively near future we would be able to embed sufficient angiogenesis-mediating factors into the ex-vivo grown tissues that under the right conditions they would generate a sufficient blood supply of their own in-situ. "

Re:Science Fiction Reality (1)

dsg123456789 (1315293) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102620)

Correction: last sentence should read:

" ...I can envision that in the relatively near future we would be able to embed sufficient angiogenesis-mediating factors into the ex-vivo grown tissues that under the right conditions they would generate a sufficient blood supply of their own in-situ. "

I honestly thought this was a joke response about the absurdity of the in-vivo angiogenetic-microphoroesis gel therocopmanders.

Re:Science Fiction Reality (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102688)

What I'm looking forward to is growing lunch meat. Organ and bone production is a waste of nutrients. Plus it would be cruelty free AND deliciously creepy! Think of the variety of meats we could grow, like human! Bon Appétit!

Cannibalism (3, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099252)

Sounds really promising for those who want to be cannibals. Just grow it using samples from your tastier friends (or from yourself, for the ultimate: survivable self-cannibalism). The price might have to come down a little, of course, or it will remain an expensive delicacy.

Re:Cannibalism (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099906)

Who cares about food - I want a suit like the one from Excession tailored from my cloned skin cells.

Re:Cannibalism (0)

Gori (526248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099954)

Obligatory genious from "The Parking Lot is Full" :
http://plif.courageunfettered.com/archive/wc263.gif [courageunfettered.com]

Re:Cannibalism (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100302)

They apparently don't like people seeing their comic.

Re:Cannibalism (3, Funny)

Opyros (1153335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100770)

"Auto-cannibalism is not the answer." — the Zork trilogy

Re:Cannibalism (1)

wasmoke (1055116) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102376)

You do know what "discarded circumcisions" means, right?

Re:Science Fiction Reality (1)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099636)

I wonder when this thing will be included in a kit with a tendon stapler (of Johnny Mnemoic fame).

Re:Science Fiction Reality (5, Funny)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099866)

hopefully that time will come soon and I imagine they would call it a "health pack" and put a big red cross on the cover of the box. Putting it on walls and inside crates would be very helpful.

Re:Science Fiction Reality (0, Offtopic)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099894)

Replying for bad moderation

Re:Science Fiction Reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30101304)

And then they can get sued by the Red Cross and have to remove the logos in later wars.

Re:Science Fiction Reality (0)

zonker (1158) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100292)

Sounds like Parts: The Clonus Horror [google.com] (the basis for the remake movie "The Island [wikipedia.org] ").

Re:Science Fiction Reality (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100514)

I wonder how soon until they have it to the point where these slices are vacuum packed and you can open it and stuff it into a sandwich.

Re:Science Fiction Reality (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101100)

"Spamdaid"?

Re:Science Fiction Reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30100644)

I wonder how soon until they have it to the point where these slices are vacuum packed and you can open it and stuff it into a wound

Does this question come about from the fact they are made from pieces of discarded cock?

from discarded circumcisions (4, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098766)

So when you rub your scars you induce swelling!

Re:from discarded circumcisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30098928)

I wonder how long it will be before this company starts selling a derivative of this product "by the inch"

Re:from discarded circumcisions (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30099058)

So when you rub your scars you induce swelling!

I think we've only seen the tip of the iceberg in regards to this technology's potential.

Yes but... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30098814)

how does it taste?

Re:Yes but... (3, Funny)

Zarniwoop (25791) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099026)

Pretty good with mustard, mayo and american cheese on white bread.

Re:Yes but... (3, Insightful)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099188)

In vitro meat will be the confounding of dogmatic, righteous vegans everywhere.

For the more reasonable vegans it'll be that long-lost opportunity to finally eat some goddamned bacon again. Mm... I love the piggies.

Re:Yes but... (2, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099658)

I was kind of thinking that. Obviously wound treatment is the first market for this kind of thing, but it will surely be used for food production sooner or later -- basically, as soon as the cost of a pound of lab-grown beef falls below the cost of a pound grown the old-fashioned way as part of a cow. I suspect that will be a while yet, but it seems inevitable. At which point we will see food wars like nothing we've seen yet. You think people get passionate about genetically engineered plants? Heh.

Re:Yes but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30099802)

Apligraf is a matrix of cow collagen, human fibroblasts and keratinocyte stem cells (from discarded circumcisions)

Not quite vegetarian yet.

Re:Yes but... (2, Interesting)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101112)

Assuming no cows were harmed in the harvesting of the collagen, it might very well be as vegetarian as cheese or milk - vegans would still find something to complain about, though.

Re:Yes but... (4, Insightful)

eddy the lip (20794) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100092)

I knew this post would elicit a comment like this, so much obliged. (First, a minor quibble - I think you mean "vegetarians", rather than "vegans." The latter not only don't eat meat, but any animal byproduct, eg. dairy.)

As you implicitly acknowledge, there are a lot of different types of vegetarians and vegans, who have chosen to omit certain things from their diet for various reasons. A vegetarian who is one for health reasons won't be terribly interested in eating meat, regardless of it's origins.

There are other arguments for vegetarianism, of course. Sustainability is one (although this would imply more that we should eat far less meat, from animals raised in ways that are environmentally friendly and don't negatively impact our ability to produce other foods.) The level of cruelty involved in factory farming, which is required to sustain our voracious appetite for meat is another, but this has the same caveats. I've known organic farmers that take better care of their animals than some do their children.

The one that seems to cause meat eaters the biggest problem is ethics. Is it defensible that we take life away from other sentient creatures for our own pleasure simply because our sentience is more highly evolved? I became a vegetarian for health reasons, but after dissociating myself from a meat diet and no longer needing to justify it, this question become easier to contemplate. I cannot in good conscience cause pain and take away the life from another living creature when I don't need to for my own survival. I consider us fortunate that we have this option, that we do not need to cause harm to continue to exist.

(Douglas Hofstadter expounds on this quite eloquently:

At some point, in any case, my compassion for other “beings” led me very naturally to finding it unacceptable to destroy other sentient beings (or other hallucinations, if you prefer), such as cows and pigs and lambs and fish and chickens, in order to consume their flesh, even if I knew that their (hallucinated) sentience wasn't quite as high as the (hallucinated) sentience of human beings.

http://tal.forum2.org/hofstadter_interview [forum2.org]

)

For myself, I am looking forward to the day when we find vat grown meat at our grocers, and fervently hope that one day this will supplant "naturally grown" meat. I believe that most vegetarians would agree, and not have a particular problem with people consuming non-sentient cell tissue.

As an aside, I was recently at a friend's place, and we were making caesar salad, hers with bacon, mine without. In the interest of science, I tasted a piece. It was the single most revolting flavour I've ever tasted, something like carrion. You do lose your taste for meat over time, and there are many vegetarians that really don't miss the nasty things you meat eaters put into your bodies ;)

Re:Yes but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30101466)

Well said!

If viable, this could also become popular due to the sheer amount of flavours available. Hundreds of types of meat could be available from mere "samples".
Biology is not a field i'm well informed in, so i don't know how limited cell-division plays into this. But if we can grow a couple thousand tons of meat form a single killed animal, that would already be a great step forward. I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons, i always enjoyed meat though and would definitely try invitro-meat, so i'm quite interested in progress in this field.

Re:Yes but... (1)

eddy the lip (20794) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102940)

That is an interesting thought...there could be a cornucopia of undiscovered meat flavours just waiting for the discerning palate. For those that have moved off meat but still would enjoy it, it would be a great thing.

The one thing I do still miss is sushi. I couldn't comfortably process it any more, but damn! That was the one meaty thing I did have trouble giving up.

Re:Yes but... (2, Insightful)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102156)

A correction to your quibble, pardon me:

A vegetarian who is one for health reasons won't be terribly interested in eating meat, regardless of it's origins.

That's one impetus for vegetarianism, as you say. So I don't mean this kind of vegetarian. And the foundation of veganism is not anti-meat, it's anti-animal suffering, so I do mean vegan. ("[T]he word 'veganism' denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude -- as far as is possible and practical -- all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals...") And this is also why I say it'll be the confounding of dogmatic vegans. Because dogma dictates prohibition of meat and animal products, whereas the deeper and truer philosophy regards animal suffering.

And I'm on board with the ethical stance of minimizing suffering for anything that can feel. Which is why I say that I "love" everyone. In the context of this conversation, though, it's appropriate to include a double meaning of "love" for piggies. Mm.

Regarding Hofstadter's quote, it might be considered simplistic. It's not mere sentience we should be valuing, but sentience that's well. Positive experience. A sentience that is suffering greatly and will always suffer greatly? I would annihilate it because I care.

Re:Yes but... (1)

eddy the lip (20794) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102918)

Point taken - I'm going to go check up on the semantics of "veganism" as soon as I'm done posting, so cheers!

The zealous, dogmatic types bug the heck out of me, too. I've known more than a few and it's sooo hard not to poke at them. Just too much fun to be had. (Not to mention that I don't think they do their cause any favours by being so unpleasant.)

I would agree, too, that a creature existing in perpetual suffering deserves to be relieved from it. (Queue someone to jump in with some silly slippery-slope argument...)

I would encourage you to check out the full interview with DH. It's not all about his decision to be a vegetarian, and it's more nuanced than what is represented in that quote. It's all part of a more fundamental understanding of consciousness, and I found it incredibly refreshing to read something more grounded than "how can you eat something so cute!"

Bacon used to be one of my favourite things, too, even though my experience of it now is quite entirely different. For what it's worth, you have that much less competition in your enjoyment of that magical animal.

Re:Yes but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30102738)

I am deeply sorry to hear of your damaged existence. You may not be aware of your state, but it pains me to see you in it, and I do not believe that you can genuinely be experiencing a satisfying existence in your current condition.

May you someday find the path to enjoying bacon. I'll do whatever the Atheist substitute for praying for you is (hoping for you?).

Re:Yes but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30102876)

Is it defensible that we take life away from other sentient creatures

Yes.

By 2012... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30098818)

...this tech will finally deliver fully realized COTS pornstar-branded vaginas. At which point the world will end.

Living skin over a metal endoskeleton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30098888)

So when do we start rolling terminators off the assembly lines?

Hopefully portends more (4, Insightful)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098914)

This sounds like incredibly great news for burn victims, given development.

Modern Science at its best... (4, Insightful)

rapturizer (733607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098918)

This sounds highly promising for traditionally traumatic and fatal wounds, particularly burns. It will be interesting to see if this product increases the rate of survival in burn victims and other similar traumas. You have to love modern medicine.

Re:Modern Science at its best... (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099012)

This sounds highly promising for traditionally traumatic and fatal wounds, particularly burns. It will be interesting to see if this product increases the rate of survival in burn victims and other similar traumas. You have to love modern medicine.

Welcome to the future. Almost everything that was once 'science fiction' is becoming plausable and even probable in science.

Even 20 years ago we could never have dreamed what we are doing now and will be doing in the next 20-30 years!

Re:Modern Science at its best... (1)

khedron the jester (888418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100550)

Where's my flying car, then?

Re:Modern Science at its best... (2, Funny)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100778)

Where's my flying car, then?

We're still trying to figure out how to make it run on coal.

Re:Modern Science at its best... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30101172)

We're still trying to make it safe for idiots to pilot.

Most people can't handle navigating on a 2 dimensional plane, how do you think joe sixpack would deal with 3?

Literature much? (2, Informative)

Orleron (835910) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098968)

I don't get why this is news. This company and this product have been around for like 20 years.

Re:Literature much? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099708)

I was wondering the same thing. Maybe this company has managed to comercialise some aspect of mammalian cell culture, but the technology has been around for decades now. The principles aren't exactly hard to grasp; it was pretty much expected that by the 3rd year of my degree in biotechnology we should all have a solid understanding of this.

However, introducing cells thus cultured in vitro to a living patient is probably the more difficult part, and I'm not entirely sure that much has changed in this regard, since there are lots of hoops that need to be jumped through before implantation techniques become accepted.

New ending to that movie: (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099014)

Soylent Green is Wankers!

Re:New ending to that movie: (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101684)

You should call it OYlent Green, already!

Re:New ending to that movie: (4, Funny)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101864)

That's Moyelent Green.

Re:New ending to that movie: (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102454)

Touché, mon ami!

SOYLENT (3, Funny)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099036)

Band-Aid®?

they have done this before with tragid results.. (5, Funny)

drewsup (990717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099066)

The hospital in question was using disused foreskin to create eyelids for burn victims. Alas, they all turned out to be cock-eyed after the procedure!

Oh dear you look badly hurt... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30099094)

let me put a penis on that for you.

UNlike mean?? WTF? (-1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099126)

but unlike meat, if you were to slice it down the center today, tomorrow the wound would heal.

Yeah, because there never even was a animal who cut itself, and where then the wound healed...

FAIL

Re:UNlike mean?? WTF? (3, Informative)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099150)

but unlike meat, if you were to slice it down the center today, tomorrow the wound would heal.

Yeah, because there never even was a animal who cut itself, and where then the wound healed...

FAIL

That would be called a fleshwound. A wound to its flesh or tissues. Meat is the same tissue, but terminally locked into 'deadness'.

There is a difference.

Slashdotters RUN FOR THE HILLS (1, Redundant)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099148)

Chopping up virgins' bits and pieces and turning it into a medical treatment!

Human horn is real!

Could you clarify? (1)

Eevee (535658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099238)

It's supple, slimy, but unlike meat

Now, is this the new protein or the bologna?

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30099242)

Sounds like the first step to a T-800.

hotdog bandaid (1)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099258)

Apligraf is a matrix of cow collagen, human fibroblasts and keratinocyte stem cells (from discarded circumcisions)

I expected them to follow that list up with 'and a few other things'.

Screw 'meat bandaid', call it 'hotdog bandaid' instead.

If ever I heard an argument (0, Offtopic)

twoears (1514043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099286)

against circumcision [tinyurl.com] this is it.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (3, Funny)

Bentov (993323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099434)

I think that circumcision had been around a few years longer then this product. So you want people to be in pain longer and possible die instead of using some tissue that is going to be discarded anyway? I never understood why people are so against circumcision. If I could meet the doctor who did mine, I would shake his hand and say "Good Job, chicks love my cock"

Re:If ever I heard an argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30099644)

If your user name is any indication, you're Jewish, so there was no choice in the matter. But you don't know what you're missing.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (2, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099682)

I never understood why people are so against circumcision.

I don't think many people are against circumcision per se -- if you want one, have one. What people are against is forcibly circumcising people who did not agree to be circumsized.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30099814)

As far as I'm circumcised, I don't care

Re:If ever I heard an argument (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102868)

But do you even remember being intact? If you have nothing to compare it to, you wouldn;t know what you are missing.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102906)

But do you even remember being intact? If you have nothing to compare it to, you wouldn;t know what you are missing.

You're right -- I don't remember being intact, and I don't know what I'm missing. I'm not sure how that's relevant though; if someone had cut off my legs at birth, I wouldn't now know what it's like to have legs either -- but that wouldn't mean it was acceptable to chop off infants' legs.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102438)

Well, maybe you could start by getting the practice of forcibly tearing holes in the ears of children who did not agree to have their ears pierced, and work your way up. Then after you get circumcision outlawed, you can work on getting the practice of forcibly puncturing holes into the arms and legs of children who did not agree for the purpose of injecting diseases into them.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (0, Troll)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101116)

And I thank my parents (in spirit) and say "Thanks I can actually feel sex."

Cut your finger tips off and get back to me on how sensitive they are to things.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102402)

Seriously, whoever it was that told you circumcised men can't actually feel sex was pulling your leg.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102854)

I didn't mean couldn't "feel" entirely. I'm sure they plenty enjoy it too, but you can't tell me cutting off a bundle of nerve endings has no affect.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (1)

statusbar (314703) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102840)

One good reason to be against circumcision is the high propensity of the botched circumcision, often not noticed until adulthood.

      http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/botch.htm [mothersagainstcirc.org]

The most scary case is this one:

    http://www.moss-fritch.com/medical_error.htm [moss-fritch.com]

Where one Baby boy was snipped way too much and the doctor's decided to give him hormones to become a girl instead.

Doctors told her that her discomfort was due to a passing phase of ``tomboyishness.''

What they didn't tell her was that she had in fact been born ``Bruce'' and had been subjected to gender reassignment surgery at 18 months, 10 months after doctors botched a circumcision and destroyed most of his penis.

--jeffk++

Re:If ever I heard an argument (1, Offtopic)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101824)

The notion of using *healthy* tissue harvested from *unconsenting*, helpless children for sale to manufacture products raises serious ethical concerns and questions. It is treating children and their bodies like objects, like agricultural products to be harvested and exploited for the benefit of others. This is nothing less than organ trafficking, no different than the harvesting of other body parts from a child for sale on the market. This technology is already illegal (as organ trafficking) in many countries.

Circumcision itself is unethical (destruction of a healthy part of a childs body, without the proper justification that is required for amputation, a serious or life threatening disease requiring immediate treatment which is present and current and cannot be treated by lesser invasive means), and this just adds to the unethical nature of it. Children are not livestock for their bodies to be treated like objects, to be cut up or harvested at a whim, they are human beings with independant rights of their own, one of the most basic is a right to a whole body and to not have their bodies cut up and mutilated by others. It is already technically classified as a battery under general legal principles applying to the rights of the person. The boys and their bodies deserve equal protection as girls already enjoy from such unnecessary genital mutilations. Male circumcision can be compared to female circumcision. In fact, common male circumcision is more invasive than many types of common female circumcision such as removal of the clitoral hood which removes less tissue than male circumcision. Obviously, if female circumcision were done in sterile conditions by doctors, even out of fears of diseases the child does not have, or that it is lesser invasive than other types of circumcision, does not make it acceptable, and the same standard should apply to boys.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30102042)

I don't think you can just lump the controversy of circumcisions with this product just because it uses the leftover materials unless they start encouraging circumcisions to get more product.

really, circumcisions have happened before this product existed and will probably continue to do so after it is replaced. It's not the reason children are circumcised and therefore can't really be blamed for it. so why are you?

Re:If ever I heard an argument (1, Offtopic)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102316)

It is a slippery slope. The fact that circumcision has been now been monetised as a organ harvesting adds financial reasons to continue what is essentially an unethical practice that destroys a healthy part of a little boys body, that has nothing wrong with it, a part they are born with, not to treat a current medical condition. We have ended up in a position where indeed this corporation is involved with the extraction of healthy body parts from a child's body. The fact that genital mutilation of boys began some time before does not change the fact of what is happening right now. The fact that, for instance, lets say a chinese organ recipient recieves a heart that was taken from a child, and were aware of it, the fact that they did not encourage the child to give up his heart does not absolve them of guilt for being complicit in this transaction. The fact that the corporation pays doctors to take the amputated genital organ is itself an encouragement of the practice. Even if donated, the recieving party is still involved in a crime of organ trafficking.

Trafficking amputation of genitals of children is basically one crime on top of another, genital mutilation of the child. The principle of equal protection requires that boys be given equal protection from amputation of medically normal parts of their genitals, as females are already given such protection from even the piercing of a girls genitals.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102468)

destruction of a healthy part of a childs body, without the proper justification that is required for amputation, a serious or life threatening disease requiring immediate treatment which is present and current and cannot be treated by lesser invasive means

So, I take it you have ethical problems with haircuts too then?

Re:If ever I heard an argument (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102846)

Totally invalid comparison. 1) Hair regrows. 2) Hair is not a living part of the body. Using your flawed argument it would be ok to chop off a childs arm because this is not not different on an ethical level to cutting hair. The difference is arm, skin, parts of a boys genital flesh, and other organs are living parts of the body and do not regrow, thus cutting them off is permenant. If you removed the hair follicles from a childs scalp so the hair could not regrow, this would be an ethical problem.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102954)

I would also add i do not hear too many people trying to legitimise female genital mutilation which is equivalent to male circumcision (clitoral hood removal), with the argument that it is no different from cutting a childs hair. I think such a conclusion would be laughed at because it should be obvious that cutting off a living part of a childs body that cannot grow back is much different than cutting a childs hair which does grow back. As well, it is also unethical to give a child a tattoo, cut off their earlobes, nipples, or other "unnecessary" body parts when there is no present medical condition involving these parts, and likewise, we shouldnt amputate part of a childs genitals which are have nothing wrong with them.

The foreskin also has significant function, including half of the nerve endings (at least) of the penis being heavily loaded with pleasure sensitive nerve endings. The loss of sensivity due to circumcision due to the simple fact that the skin surface of the penis is being reduced and thus the number of nerve endings is reduced, is bound to be significant. Truly the person whose body it is is the only one who can assess the value of a body part for themselves. A body part which seems useless to be one might be considered indespensible for another, even if for simply aesthetic reasons.

Circumcision is a permenant alteration which cannot be undone, it is a surgical amputation, when commited on healthy children violates the same ethical principles that dictate that cutting off a boys nipples, earlobes, pulling out their entire fingernail, tattoo of children, removing their hair roots so their hair cannot grow back, and other irreversible surgeries and so on, are unethical.

Re:If ever I heard an argument (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102858)

if all the thousands of nerve endings and other complex structures were able to regrow to form an intact foreskin in only a few years, the way hair does (because hairs fall out, and get replaced), then my opposition to circumcision would be far less, since it would be trivially reversible. However, there is currently no technique capable of restoring those destroyed tissues, only poor substitutes.

If you seriously think that irreversibly destroying living tissue of any kind, let alone the most sensitive part of the male anatomy) except in the direst circumstances is even remotely comparable to cutting entrirely dead tissue which is naturally regrown, you are completely out of your mind.

The story behind Apligraf (5, Informative)

az-saguaro (1231754) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099390)

I am not sure why this item was introduced as "moderately disturbing". If you will permit me, I will explain what it is, since I use it regularly. (I have no stock nor other biased affiliation with the company or product.) The product first came on the market in 1998, over 10 years ago. It has a well-established place in the treatment of chronic wounds. It is not the only product in the category of "living cell therapies" for chronic wounds. The other product is Dermagraft, similar, and likewise around for nearly 10 years. When Apligraf first came out, it was promoted as skin-graft-in-a-box. It is not. It is allogeneic material (recipients will reject it), and thus it does not "take" to the body like an autogenous skin graft. In its earliest years, when the company was promoting it as a skin graft, it got some high profile press because it was put to good use as readily available biological coverage for burn victims of the 9-11-2001 twin towers catastrophe. The company that makes it, Organogenesis, partnered with pharma giant Novartis for marketing and product management, and under them, they listened to customers who told them it was not skin grafts in a box, and they redefined its marketing for chronic wounds. The product management has been back in the hands of Organogenesis for about 3 or 4 years now.

The material is essentially a poly-pharmaceutical packaged in a living material. The raw materials come from donated foreskins. Extensive safety testing is done. Pure extracted fibroblasts are put into cell culture, where they do their business and re-form a collagen matrix equivalent to normal dermis. After that, pure keratinocytes are cultured on top of the dermis, and an epidermis forms. The product is shipped in its petri dish, as a circle of 44 sq cm area. The Gizmodo article shows a picture of it. As a living material, its procurement and handling are a bit different than most medical devices, but it is easy to get and apply.

The juvenile cells in the material make a broad spectrum of growth factors and other biochemicals which have a positive pro-proliferative effect on wounds. The role for this material is for chronic and pathological wounds. The company got its market approval and indications from the FDA for studies done on diabetic and venous ulcers, but the material is useful for chronic and pathological ("cap") wounds of any cause. Like anything else, it does not work for all wounds or patients, but it is fairly predictable, and its results can be rather dramatic. When a cap wound of whatever cause has been treated to the point that disease is quiet, inflammation is gone, and the wound should be healing but it is not, then that is when wound stimulatory therapies are applied. There are several available, and Apligraf has been one of the flagship products in this category for 10 years now. Many wounds which simply will not budge no matter what will take off and heal once this is applied.

Organogenesis has its first new product coming out soon, for oral mucosa and gingiva, so perhaps that is why they are trying to stir up some attention with articles like the one quoted. However, it is not Brave New World nor Coma nor any other meat factory. It is just on the leading edge of biological therapeutics in the 21st century. And if Slashdotters want to make lots of jokes as they often do, like "put Viagra in the petri dish to grow more", well, we've already heard them all.

(All very timely, since I just gave a presentation on this last week (and have been for 8 years). If you want to learn more, I posted a copy of the presentation on the website I use for posting talks and presentations and whatnot. This particular talk has a mix of my slides and company slides. It is NOT yet annotated with full text on each slide, so some will just be pictures and you will have to infer what you can, but text should be coming one of these days:
http://www.arimedica.com/content/arimedica_apligraf_(partially%20annotated)_2005-1006.pdf [arimedica.com]
Again, I have no investment nor bias here, I just use this stuff in practice because it works and it's an important product.)

Re:The story behind Apligraf (2, Funny)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099606)

I am not sure why this item was introduced as "moderately disturbing". [...] The material is essentially a poly-pharmaceutical packaged in a living material. The raw materials come from donated foreskins.

Heh, I believe you have your answer.

Re:The story behind Apligraf (1)

Cessen (74140) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101890)

Moreover, I'm pretty sure the circumcised infants weren't the ones giving consent for their foreskins to be used in this product. So I'm not really sure the word "donated" is entirely appropriate.

At the very least, they ought to be financially compensated for the use of their skin. Especially in what is (presumably?) a for-profit product.

Re:The story behind Apligraf (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100336)

It's mildly disturbing because it's a step away from being a non-sentient, but still genetically human creature.

Re:The story behind Apligraf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30101258)

So? That definition ("non-sentient but genetically human") applies to every single organ in your body when considered in isolation. (Or any tumor.)

Would a kidney in the process of being transplanted be referred to the same way?

Re:The story behind Apligraf (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101702)

No. But something growing for an arbitrary length of time in vitro is different from a temporarily detached limb. The mildly disturbing thing is that it seems to be somewhat human, yet immortal and unthinking.

You Fail fIt? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30100044)

Too bad (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100192)

The Mohel's cat will be disappointed.

Mmm.. Cancer... (1)

GastronomicalEvent (1401141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100408)

I had a friend who once thought of using cancer based tumors on cattle to make the most anti-PETA meat known to man.

Just what I've been waiting for! (1, Funny)

gravos (912628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100962)

Apligraf is a matrix of cow collagen, human fibroblasts and keratinocyte stem cells (from discarded circumcisions), that, when applied to chronic wounds (particularly nasty problems like diabetic sores), can seed healing and regeneration.

Finally, a band-aid made out of human penises!

Can't believe I didn't think of it.

Marketing is everything (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101012)

They should trademark it as "4Skin".

Re:Marketing is everything (1)

thehostiles (1659283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101628)

win also, Isn't there a better place to get stem cells? like umbilical cords? please anytbing but the end of somebody's cock

Serious ethical concerns (0, Offtopic)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101876)

I am very concerned about the ethical issues surrounding this. If you have any education in or respect for human rights this should raise all kinds of red flags. The notion of using *healthy* tissue harvested from *unconsenting*, helpless children for sale to manufacture products raises serious ethical concerns and questions. It is treating children and their bodies like objects, like agricultural products to be harvested and exploited for the benefit of others. This is nothing less than organ trafficking, no different than the harvesting of other body parts from a child for sale on the market. This technology is already illegal (as organ trafficking) in many countries. The whole notion is pretty inhumane.

Circumcision itself is unethical (destruction of a healthy part of a childs body, without the proper justification that is required for amputation, a serious or life threatening disease requiring immediate treatment which is present and current and cannot be treated by lesser invasive means), and this just adds to the unethical nature of it. Children are not livestock for their bodies to be treated like objects, to be cut up or harvested at a whim, they are human beings with independant rights of their own, one of the most basic is a right to a whole body and to not have their bodies cut up and mutilated by others. It is already technically classified as a battery under general legal principles applying to the rights of the person. The boys and their bodies deserve equal protection as girls already enjoy from such unnecessary genital mutilations. Male circumcision can be compared to female circumcision. In fact, common male circumcision is more invasive than many types of common female circumcision such as removal of the clitoral hood which removes less tissue than male circumcision. Obviously, if female circumcision were done in sterile conditions by doctors, even out of fears of diseases the child does not have, or that it is lesser invasive than other types of circumcision, does not make it acceptable, and the same standard should apply to boys.

The ends do not justify the means as we always say in ethics, and you cannot justify crimes no matter what your excuse is. You cannot justify fondling a child or cutting off a healthy part of their body based on some claimed benefit.

Halolz (1)

PlasmaEye (1128377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101894)

That gives a whole new meaning to the term "teabagging."

Streisand Effect (0, Offtopic)

SeNtM (965176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101960)

Duh...

Streisand Effect [wikipedia.org]

Re:Streisand Effect (1)

SeNtM (965176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101970)

Err, wrong article.

Donated? Really? (2, Interesting)

hg1954 (1678762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102226)

Engineered skin products may well be great products with many uses. But there's a serious ethical problem with using foreskins taken from, not donated by, non-consenting minors.

So what's the big deal, boys are going to be circumcised anyway, why not profit from it?

It's the profit motive that's the problem.

Parents report being pressured by hospital staff to circumcise their newborn sons. In fact, the anti-circumcision organization IntactAmerica.org was originally funded by couple in response to their disgust at having been pressured to have their boy cut.

Infant boys' foreskins may be very valuable to tissue engineering companies but they are more valuable and rightfully belong to the boys themselves.

Infant circumcision is an unnecessary amputation that cannot be refused by the prospective amputee himself. That makes it a forced amputation, a very serious human rights violation.

Circumcision advocates within the CDC are now pushing to get the agency to endorse circumcision as an HIV preventative. Sounds great, but if you read further there is no real claim of effectiveness. You still have to wear a condom if you want to be actually protected from infection. The circumcision-HIV experiment has already been conducted on a mass scale and the result was negative. America has the highest circumcision rate in the developed world and also the highest HIV rate. Perhaps that's why circumcision advocates are careful to say that you still need to wear a condom. Being cut is simply of no use in fighting HIV.

So why push parents to have their baby boy cut when it's not going to protect him from anything?

Follow the money. Amputating infant foreskins is a billion dollar business. And now someone else wants his foreskin, the tissue engineering companies.

The mass production of living tissue would be a fine development if it didn't depend on infant foreskins. Treating non-consenting minors as a source of spare parts violates our most basic ethical standards.

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