Stem Cells Successfully Treat Erectile Dysfunction In Study

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In early clinical trials, stem cells restored enough erectile function in impotent men to enable spontaneous intercourse. This was achieved in eight out of 21 study participants without the use of other medicines, injections, or implants.

The trial focused on patients whose erectile dysfunction (ED) was caused by physical damage from surgery (radical prostatectomy) for prostrate cancer. Other causes of ED include high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and mental health issues.

In the study, Danish researchers used stem cells from the participants' abdominal fat acquired via liposuction. The cells were then injected into the corpus cavernous region of the subjects’ penis. Within six months, eight of the men reported achieving penetrative sexual activity, and the restoration was maintained for a year.

Using the standard IIEF questionnaire to measure erectile function the investigators found that all 21 study participants increased their scores following the stem cell injections. However, the eight men who experienced restored sexual function raised their scores a couple of points higher than the others. This small margin of difference was enough to enable sexually activity without using medication.

“We are the first to use a man's own fat stem cells as a treatment for erectile dysfunction in a clinical trial,” said lead researcher Dr Martha Haahr. “The technique has been trialed in animal work, but this is the first time stem cell therapy has allowed patients to recover sufficient erectile function to enable intercourse.”

The researchers are especially pleased that the eight men were still experiencing good erectile function at their 12 month follow-up assessment. “This suggests the possibility of therapeutic options for patients suffering from erectile dysfunction from other causes,” says Haahr. “But we need to remember that this is a small trial, with no control group. We're still some time away from a clinically available solution.”

Source: European Association of Urology/AlphaGalileo
Photo credit: Gareth Williams


 
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