Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Foreskin Dangerous on Males But Could Help Others

The foreskin is obviously a source of dirt and danger to the normal male, but it apparently does have some scientific value that is likely to grow in the decades ahead.

Have you ever wondered what happened to your foreskin? Probably not. But it is nice to think that this worthless piece of tissue when disfiguring (and harming) the male penis may have some positive benefits in collagen and skin repairs.

Here's what the alternative San Diego CityBeat wrote about this topic:

The $140-million foreskin
How San Diego biotech benefits from circumcision
By Dave Maass

In the bio-tech industry, the term “neonatal fibroblast” is often code for “baby foreskin,” or at least the cells derived from one.

Much like embryonic stem cells may revolutionize treatments for a wide range of chronic and genetic disorders, the neonatal fibroblast has changed how medical and cosmetic doctors heal the skin.

San Diego doctors have appreciated the potential of the foreskin as far back as the 19th century.
As Dr. Peter Charles Remondino wrote in 1891 in The History of Circumcision, “for skin-transplanting there is nothing superior to the plants offered by the prepuce of a boy.”

What Remondino couldn’t have foreseen is how San Diego County’s bio-science industry would develop foreskin technology. For example, Invitrogen Corp., a subsidiary of Carlsbad-based Life Technologies Corp., offers neonatal fibroblasts for $339 per 500,000-cell vial.

Asked where the foreskins come from, spokesperson Tim Ingersoll responded via e-mail: “Life Technologies produces research-use only products using neonatal foreskins discarded from circumcisions with full, informed consent.”

Foreskin research is more closely associated with La Jolla-based Advanced Tissue Sciences. In the early ’90s, the company invented a way to grow and use the fibroblast cells in a skin overlay that could produce collagen and other biological elements to heal wounds.

ATS eventually became financially insolvent and spent the past decade liquidating its assets. Co-founder Dr. Gail Naughton is now dean of the SDSU School of Business Administration.

The foreskin formula also stayed local. Advanced BioHealing, a Connecticut-based company with a 70,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in La Jolla, currently uses ATS’s “Dermagraft” treatment, which is applied primarily to diabetic foot ulcers. Carlsbad-based SkinMedica also employs ATS’s fibroblast process but discards the cells and uses only the protein-rich culture in its skin-cream products.

According to the corporate-analysis firm Hoovers, SkinMedica has a staff of 160 employees and reports $60 million annually in sales. Advanced BioHealing estimates that it pulled in $80 million in sales in 2009 and grew its workforce to 250 employees.

Neither company has acquired a prepuce in nearly 20 years: Advanced BioHealing and SkinMedica’s cells lines are both derived from a single foreskin.

Technically, a fibroblast can be made from any skin tissue, old or young, but the healing properties of infant skin are superior. The fibroblast can come from the skin of any body part, but circumcision means there’s already a surplus of infant skin that would otherwise be destroyed.

“It comes down to the availability of tissue,” Charlie Hart, chief scientific officer for Advanced BioHealing, says. “Collecting tissue from a different site would be an abnormal surgical procedure and there would be a lot of ethical issues with that.”

SkinMedica has been questioned for using the foreskin culture in its Oprah-endorsed anti-aging products.

“Initially, there was a misunderstanding and people thought we were actually grinding up the foreskin,” SkinMedica founder Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick says. “So, there was a lot of snickering and laughing about people putting this foreskin product on their face.”

How did SkinMedica put the urban legend to rest?

“We stopped mentioning it,” Fitzpatrick says.


  1. (The foreskin is obviously a source of dirt and danger to the normal male)

    Apparently the following medical oragizations don't agree with:

    Canadian Paediatric Society
    “Recommendation: Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.”
    “Circumcision is a ‘non-therapeutic’ procedure, which means it is not medically necessary.”
    “After reviewing the scientific evidence for and against circumcision, the CPS does not recommend routine circumcision for newborn boys. Many paediatricians no longer perform circumcisions.

    RACP Policy Statement on Circumcision
    “After extensive review of the literature, the Paediatrics & Child Health Division of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians has concluded that there is no medical reason for routine newborn male circumcision.”
    (almost all the men responsible for this statement will be circumcised themselves, as the male circumcision rate in Australia in 1950 was about 90%. “Routine” circumcision is now *banned* in public hospitals in Australia in all states except one.)

    British Medical Association: The law and ethics of male circumcision – guidance for doctors
    “to circumcise for therapeutic reasons where medical research has shown other techniques to be at least as effective and less invasive would be unethical and inappropriate.”

  2. "Have you ever wondered what happened to your foreskin?"

    Many of us don't have to wonder. We can just look down and their it is, giving us unique pleasures every day. Would that all men were so lucky!

    Isn't it just miraculous how the foreskin can be so "worthless" and "dangerous" when it is where it was evolved to be, but cut it off, treat it with chemicals and it's a health-giving miracle tissue (worth gazillions to the pharmaceutical industry).

    Pull the other one, PD. (Leg, I mean.)

    You really should read that article in conjunction with this one, by the same reporter, who is certainly not convinced by your case.

    He also went on radio and here is the audio.

  3. One trend I've noticed with every racist person I've ever met is unhappiness. I've never met a happy racist. And if you think about it, it makes sense: These people usually don't have much going on in their lives, so they assuage their uselessness and inconsequentiality with the idea that, "At least I'm white..."

    You sir, are grasping at very similar straws, perhaps assuaging your lack of success with women with, "At least I'm circumcised."

  4. Funny how the other "useless" tissues and organs that pro circumcisionists lump together with foreskin like tonsils and appendixes don't seem to be some diseased part when it's attached to the body and then some sort of magical piece of healing flesh once it is cut out.

    Face it : foreskin is unique, erogenous tissue that cannot be duplicated or replicated. It is not the same kind of "useless" skin that you would get from a skin graph done to an arm or leg. It is not just another "flap of skin".

  5. This is Dave Maass, the author. Thanks for posting the story, but could you please just post a fair-use excerpt or, at the very least, provide a link back to the original?

  6. I'm proud to tell you that in MY country, infant circ IS ILLEGAL and hereby it is not practiced at all where I live.

    Also circ under 18yo without clear medical reson is also ILLEGAL here.

    Perhaps we just descented from the trees few centuries before you..

  7. Interesting post, I would like to share some thing important about penis health.

    "Treat Your Penis As If It Were an Athlete"
    Peppino, the spokes-penis, says that your penis, just like an athlete, needs vitamins, supplements and minerals in order to provide peak performance and always to be in top shape. Hear what Peppino has to say about which penis-specific vitamins are necessary to maintain penis health and keep your sexual performance at a winning competitive level. See and hear Peppino at

  8. Infant circumcision is disgusting and cruel. It is sexual abuse.

    1. I agree completely! This conversation stopped ?? I want to know if anyone has used man 1 oil, and if it actually works? Anyone? Btw wish I could sue the government over being circumcised .:( help aged33

  9. Circumcision is rape