Stem cell therapy can restore erectile function to allow impotent men to have spontaneous intercourse, as shown by an early clinical trial. The research showed that the stem cells work without any additional medicines, implants, or injections.
The results of this study were presented at the European Association of Urology conference in London, showing that eight of the 21 participants successfully regained their sexual function.
The research was carried out by scientists in Odense, Denmark, who used stem cells from abdominal fats via liposuction to create a natural remedy for erectile dysfunction.
Erectile Dysfunction Successfully Treated With Stem Cells
The results of the research were positive and a Phase-2 trial is expected to begin — further evaluating how effective and safe this procedure would be when applied on a larger scale.
During the past years, many groups of scientists have addressed this issue — aiming to develop a stem cell-based treatment for erectile dysfunction. However, up until now, the improvements have been insufficient to allow men have sexual intercourse.
Erectile dysfunction is a serious condition, affecting approximately half of men between the ages of 40 and 70. The researchers have established a series of causes that can contribute to this condition, among which surgery (prostate surgery being one of the most common examples), diabetes, high blood pressure, psychological problems, or cardiovascular disease.
A series of remedies are available for people undergoing this condition. However, all of them, from penile implants to PDE5 inhibitors such as Cialis and Viagra have associated disadvantages. This situation has motivated the scientific community to look for a better, natural solution.
The current research is addressed to people who suffer physical damage caused by surgery for prostate cancer. During the testing period, none of the 21 subjects enrolled in the research presented significant side effects during the trial period, or in the following year, according to the researchers' data.
The scientists isolated the stem cells extracted from abdominal fats and then injected them into the corpus cavernosum area of the penis. The procedure was simple and the patients were discharged the same day. In the following six months, eight of the 21 participants in the study reported having sufficient erectile function to support penetrative sexual activity.
The results were maintained for a year, which indicates that this treatment could have long-term benefits.
"As far as we know, this is the first time that a human study with a 12-month follow-up shows that the treatment is lasting and safe," noted Lars Lund, a professor at Odense University Hospital in Denmark who took part in the trials.
Erectile Dysfunction, A Serious Problem
According to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, 52 percent of men are affected by erectile dysfunction, a condition that is increasingly prevalent with age. Additionally, the study showed that at the age of 40, approximately 40 percent of men are affected, while approximately 70 percent men aged 70 suffer from this condition. The prevalence increases from 5 percent to 15 percent from the ages of 40 to 70.
"Erectile function is the result of a complex interplay between vascular, neurologic, hormonal, and psychological factors. [...] Risk factors and disease processes that affect the function of the arterial or venous systems would, therefore, be expected to have a negative impact on erectile function," noted the study.