Stem cells from a man’s stomach could be a permanent cure for impotence
Article Published by: dailymail.co.uk
Just ONE injection of stem cells from a man’s stomach could be a permanent cure for impotence (and even help them to lose weight)
A single injection of stem cells could be a long-lasting cure for impotency, scientists have announced.
Results from a trial of men with severe erectile dysfunction shows the stem cell therapy effectively restores spontaneous sexual function.
The findings, presented at the European Association of Urology conference in London, could pave the way for an effective treatment for men who do not respond to Viagra.
Such an approach would be particularly valuable for men made impotent by surgery – including prostate cancer patients – for whom erectile medicines do not often work.
But it could also prove useful for men who do not want to have to take pills in order to have sex.
Study leader Dr Martha Haahr, of Odense University Hospital in Denmark, said: ‘It’s very promising. This therapy is regenerating the actual function of the penis, rather than just treating the symptoms.
‘So we could offer just one procedure. It would be attractive for many men, rather than constantly having to take pills and be reminded of their impotence.
‘If it works in larger trials, we will have a safe new treatment that is more effective than Viagra.
‘What we have done establishes that this technique can lead to men recovering a spontaneous erection – in other words, without the use of other medicines, injections, or implants.’
Erectile dysfunction affects 52 per cent of men aged between 40 and 70.
Medical firms have long vied to come up with different ways to treat the problem, knowing there are fortunes to be made for those who can come up with an effective treatment.
When drugs giant Pfizer launched Viagra in 1998 its share price doubled within days. Since then, the pills have pulled in more than £1bn every year, even after its patent ended in 2013.
But not all men respond to the drug, and many others dislike having to take a pill during romantic moments.
Dr Haahr’s team tested the stem cell technology on 21 middle-aged men for whom no other treatment had worked.
Each man had a small sample of fat taken from their belly using liposuction.
Scientists then extracted stem cells from the fat, and injected them back into the patient.
The stem cells – ‘blank’ cells capable of acting as a repair kit for the body by replacing damaged tissue – are thought to encourage the regeneration of blood cells and blood vessels.
Every patient in the trial had been impotent before receiving the stem cell therapy, and no other treatment had worked.
Within six months all 21 had improved recovered enough function to have sex with additional medication.
And eight of the group managed to have spontaneous sex with no additional help.
When the scientists checked their patients again after 12 months the benefits had not worn off, indicating it could have a long-lasting effect.
Dr Haahr stressed that it was a phase 1, early-stage trial, the main aim of which was to make sure the treatment was safe – so far more testing is needed.
But she added: ‘We are the first to use a man’s own fat stem cells as a treatment for erectile dysfunction in a clinical trial.
‘The technique has been trialled in animal work, but this is the first time stem cell therapy has allowed patients to recover sufficient erectile function to enable intercourse.
‘We are pleased with the preliminary outcomes, especially as these men had previously seen no effect from traditional medical treatment and continue to have good erectile function after 12 months follow-up, indicating that this might be a long-term solution.
‘This suggests the possibility of therapeutic options for patients suffering from erectile dysfunction from other causes.
‘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.
‘We are now beginning a larger phase 2 trial to better evaluate its effectiveness and confirm its safety.’
Professor Jens Sønksen, member of the EAU Scientific Congress Committee, added: ‘This is interesting and novel research looking into the future. There is no doubt that stem cell therapy will become an important tool in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.’
ABOUT IFFIE OKORONKWO, M.D.
Iffie Okoronkwo, M.D. is a Spine and Sports Rehabilitation Medicine and Pain Management physician at Manhattan Spine and Sports Medicine (http://www.manhattanmd.com/), a private practice based in New York City with 40 years of experience providing the finest expert medical care and services to patients around the world.
Dr. Iffie is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and, as a physiatrist, utilizes ultrasound guided injections, fluoroscopy guided injections, PRP, regenerative medicine, and more to evaluate and treat a variety of conditions affecting muscles, joints, ligaments, and nerves.