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The Use Of Stem Cells In The Treatment Of Erectile Dysfunction

  1. Introduction

    1. Definition of Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

      Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition in which the affected men are unable to get and keep an erection firm enough for sexual satisfaction. Erectile dysfunction (ED) could be a sign of a physical or psychological condition.

    2. Overview of Current Erectile Dysfunction Treatments

      Several treatments are available for erectile dysfunction and they include oral medications, vacuum erection devices, and also surgical procedures. However, some of the latest treatments available for treating erectile dysfunction include stem cell transplant therapy, low-intensity shock treatment, gene therapy, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections.

      However, the best treatment possible for treating the condition of erectile dysfunction in individuals depends on the severity of their condition and their doctor’s advice.

    3. Purpose of the Article

      Stem cells have been in use in medical science for the past few decades. Many conditions are being treated by using stem cell therapy. As we read further in this article, we will be exploring more about the science behind stem cell therapy and also the use of stem cells in treating erectile dysfunction.

  2. The Science Behind Stem Cells and Erectile Dysfunction

    1. Definition of Stem Cells

      Stem cells are cells in our body that have the potential to develop into many different types of cells. These cells serve as a repair system for our body. Mainly there are two types of stem cells, namely, embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.

      Under the appropriate conditions in the body or a laboratory setting, stem cells divide to form more cells known as daughter cells.

    2. Role of Stem Cells In Regenerating Tissues and Restoring Function

      Over the past few decades stem cell transplant and tissue regeneration methods for treating different diseases have been growing rapidly. With their exceptional characteristics of self-renewal ability and potential to differentiate into various types of cells of the body, stem cells have been playing crucial roles in regenerative medicines.(1)

      Stem cells are the cells of our body that can be guided to turn into any specific cell that can be used to regenerate and repair damaged tissues (or tissues affected by diseases).
      Stem cell therapies can be conducted on people suffering from diseases like spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, type 1 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, heart disease, strokes, cancer, burns, and osteoarthritis; and that too with promising results.

      Researchers are continuing to advance their knowledge of stem cells and their applications in regenerative medicines and stem cell transplants.

    3. Mechanisms of Action In Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

      Stem cell therapy is one of the most recent treatment options that have the potential to reverse the underlying causes of erectile dysfunction (ED) and also reduce patients’ reliance on the transitory effects of PDE5-I medicines.

      In various animal models, it has been found that for subjects who poorly respond to PDE5-inhibitors ( Cavernous nerve injury and DM), stem cell regenerative therapy can be used. Stem cell regenerative therapy is based on the rationale that stem cells can differentiate into different cells in the body, including endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, Schwann cells, and neurons.(2)

      The number of stem cells to be administered is determined by the weight, age, and condition of the patient being affected with erectile dysfunction. The stem cell therapy is carried out using mesenchymal stem cells, which are derived from the patient’s bone marrow or adipose tissue, or fetal stem cells.

      The stem cell treatment can be performed in three sessions, forty-five days apart, or on two consecutive days. While intravenous administration of stem cells is performed, an injection that is made to sperm-producing ducts in the affected person’s testis.

      NOTE: Different treatment protocols might be applied for each patient.

  3. Clinical Trials and Studies on Stem Cell Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction

    1. Overview of Current Research

      Stem cells have currently become an interesting therapy for erectile dysfunction, especially following prostatectomy, where erectile dysfunction is secondary to cavernosal nerve damage. Though stem cells used for treating erectile dysfunction in men can be derived from various sources, including bone marrow, adipose tissue, placenta, urine, amniotic fluid, and umbilical vein endothelium; Adipose-derived stem cells are the most studied cells in the treatment of erectile dysfunction in the rat models and many studies have shown an improvement in intracavernosal pressure in rats who were directly injected with stem cells into their corpus cavernosum.

      In addition to this, combination treatment with brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), PDE-5 inhibitors, and adipose-derived stem cells has shown a positive impact in improving erectile function in the rat model.(3) But, the safety and efficacy of the use of stem cells in treating erectile dysfunction in human beings are continuing and keep on improving.

      Though many studies have shown benefits to stem cell treatment for erectile dysfunction, researches are continuously improving this field of treatment.

    2. Results and Outcomes From Stem Cell Treatment For Erectile Dysfunction

      Stem cell treatment in erectile dysfunction eliminates the problem as they touch and transform into the cells that offer erection in the penis. This treatment can be performed on people of any age having erectile dysfunction.

      The stem cells taken from the affected individual are multiplied in the laboratories and then intravenously administered to the patient or administered by injection into the penis.

      Stem cell therapy has shown at least 50% improvement in erectile dysfunction patients after the initial administration of stem cells while offering definite results in ongoing administrations of these cells.

    3. Safety and Efficacy of Stem Cell Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction

      In patients with erectile dysfunction, stem cell treatment could be the most effective treatment modality in terms of both ease of treatment and also definite successful results. Stem cell treatments for ED are also safe and have no or very less side effects.

      In studies conducted by Haahr et al, Yiou et al, and Protogerou et al, patients have reported improved levels of morning erectile function and also overall erectile function.(4, 5, 6)

      In a study conducted by Yiou et al, it was reported that patients showed improved sexual intercourse satisfaction post-treatment.(5) The study performed by Haahr et al reported that ED patients with urinary incontinence post-radical prostatectomy incontinence were less likely to experience improvements in erectile function.(7) Finally, both studies conducted by Levy et al has shown that stem cell treatment resulted in an improvement of erectile function, without changing penile length, and girth changes.(8, 9)

  4. Stem Cell Sources and Administration for Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

    1. Types of Stem Cells Used For ED Treatment

      Many types of stem cells have been used to treat erectile dysfunction, and some of these cells include mesenchymal stem cells, adipose-derived stem cells, placental matrix-derived stem cells, bone marrow-derived mononuclear stem cells, and umbilical cord blood stem cells.

      However, stem cells used predominantly in erectile dysfunction preclinical studies are mostly adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ADSCs)(10), bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSCs)(11), muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs)(12), and embryonic stem cells (ESCs).(13)

    2. Methods of Administering Stem Cells For Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

      Stem cell treatment for erectile dysfunction can be performed on patients of any age. The stem cells are taken from the affected person and are multiplied in stem cell laboratories and then administered to them intravenously and/or by injection into their penis.

      The infusion of healthy stem cells into the erectile dysfunction patient is a painless process and has extremely rare or no side effects. Soon the transplanted stem cells begin to grow and reproduce healthy blood cells in the body.

    3. Dosage and Frequency of Treatments

      The number of stem cells to be administered is determined by the weight, age, and condition of the patient. Stem cell treatment is carried out using mesenchymal stem cells from the patient’s own adipose tissue or bone marrow. The treatment can be performed in three sessions, forty-five days apart or two consecutive days. The treatment protocol is determined precisely based on the patient’s condition.

      In recent years, different stem cell experts have been working on developing stem cell therapy as a safe and effective cure for erectile dysfunction. Every stem cell expert uses their protocols. As of now, there is no standard protocol for stem cell treatment concerning dosages, source, number of cycles, and supportive therapies. So, if you are opting for stem cell treatment for erectile dysfunction, you should select your stem cell specialists wisely to get desired results.

  5. Limitations, Potential Side Effects, and Risks of Stem Cell Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction

    1. Overview of Limitations, Potential Side Effects, And Risks

      Stem cell therapy has got its limitations. Some of these include the following:

      • Stem cells cannot be administered if the affected person does not have any desired cells because they treat healthy cells in the area they are administered into by multiplying them.
      • The treatment is not possible in patients undergoing cancer treatment or taking medicines lethal for cells and radiation therapy.

      Side effects following stem cell therapy are rare. However, some mild side effects might include redness and swelling on the injection site. Some of the risks involved with stem cell treatment for erectile dysfunction include short-term side effects like bleeding, infection, and pain from tissue or nerve inflammation.

    2. Importance of Informed Consent and Monitoring By A Medical Professional

      Though th popularity of stem cell treatments for erectile dysfunction has been growing significantly, it is always important to be well-informed about the entire treatment procedure and the effectiveness. If you are looking for stem cell therapies for ED then you must visit an informed stem cell specialist (expert) and take their advice and consent before deciding to undergo the treatment elsewhere. An expert medical professional who might have experience in stem cell treatments should monitor your condition, and provide you with the most appropriate treatment protocol based on your present condition.

  6. Conclusion

    Stem cells are cells having the ability to change into different types of cells, and this ability of these cells makes them a perfect solution for erectile dysfunction.

    Stem cell therapy is a fast-growing method in the medical field and it is believed that stem cell treatments on patients with erectile dysfunction could be helpful for them in getting their erection and helping them experience their sex life. Several animal studies, especially those on rats have shown the effectiveness of stem cell treatments on ED.

    Though results from basic stem cell research and animal models are quite impressive, more research on humans is essential to include stem cell treatments as the most appropriate option for treating erectile dysfunction.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 28, 2023

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