Wake Forest Baptist anal sphincters, and your telephone

Researchers Use Human Cells to Engineer Functional Anal Sphincters in Lab,” coos the headline on this press release from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The announcement goes on to say:

Researchers have built the first functional anal sphincters in the laboratory, suggesting a potential future treatment for both fecal and urinary incontinence. Made from muscle and nerve cells, the sphincters developed a blood supply and maintained function when implanted in mice. The results are reported in the medical journal Gastroenterology.

“In essence, we have built a replacement sphincter that we hope can one day benefit human patients. This is the first bioengineered sphincter made with both muscle and nerve cells, making it ‘pre-wired’ for placement in the body,” said senior author Khalil N. Bitar, Ph.D [pictured here, above]….

That Wake Forest Baptist Medical web page includes a friendly invitation [reproduced here]: a picture of a mom simultaneously holding her baby and talking on a telephone, with the following text beneath the photo:

Request an Appointment
We are happy to take your appointment request over the phone, or, you may fill out an online request form.

(Thanks to investigator Karyn Hede for bringing this to our attention. Hede says “I’ve encountered numerous anal sphincters in the lab. These ain’t the first, nor will they be the last.”)

BONUS: Yes, we have featured this item before, but we did not at that time notice the invitation to telephone (indeed, we’re not sure that the invitation had yet been made), nor had we heard Hede’s observation.