Stem Cell Therapy for ED Treatment
In 2013 Sharon A. Huang and Janette D. Lie analyzed the results of 44 studies assessing the efficacy of oral PDE-5 inhibitors in men with erectile dysfunction and various comorbidities. It ranges between 50% and 88%, which shows that sildenafil, vardenafil and tadalafil are not universal cures that work for everybody. For example, only 56% patients with erectile dysfunction caused by diabetes report improved erections after taking PDE-5 inhibitors.
The demand for alternative forms of erectile dysfunction treatment remains high. Therefore, new research in that field always gets public attention. One example of such research is the 2018 review of Phase I clinical trials of stem cell therapy for ED published by scientists from from the University of Odense, Denmark. The paper by Dr. Martha Haahr et al, published in peer-reviewed Urology journal, was covered in articles on Healthline.com, Medical News Today and other sources.
The new treatment is based on the use of stem cells obtained from the patient’s own fat tissue. These cells are injected into the patient’s penis resulting in a significant improvement in erectile function reported by 53% of the continent men enrolled in the study. The therapy proved to be ineffective in men with urinary incontinence after prostatectomy as well as those who had erection problems prior to prostate removal.
What makes stem cell therapy look especially promising is the duration of its effect. The patients that responded well to the treatment reported normal sexual performance 12 months after receiving just one stem cell injection. Compared to ED medications that need to be taken either daily or as needed before the expected sexual intercourse, this form of treatment allows for more spontaneity in one’s sex life.
Stem cell therapy is not only for post-prostatectomy patients either. A 2011 study by a group of scientists from China and the US showed that rats with cavernous nerve injury or erectile dysfunction due to diabetes mellitus respond well to stem cell injections too. Similar treatment has been proven effective in patients with erectile dysfunction due to Peyronie’s disease.
One of the challenges hindering the popularity of stem cell therapy is the fact that stem cells are not easy to obtain. The researches listed above use cells derived from bone marrow or body fat. A recent study by Ethan Matz et al explores the possibility of using placental- or urine-derived stem cells for these purposes, which is expected to make the therapy both less challenging and cheaper.
Even though the clinical trials of the treatment described herein haven’t gone beyond Phase I yet, there are already doctors offering stem cell therapy for erectile dysfunction to their patients. One example is Dr. Todd Malan of Center for Regenerative Cell Medicine in Scottsdale, AZ. Dr. Malan’s Facebook page contains multiple positive reviews from patients who underwent stem cell therapy in his clinic. There are none from people who used it to treat ED, but this could be because of privacy concerns. Other healthcare professionals like Dr. Irwin Goldstein of Alvarado Hospital in San Diego recommend against trying innovative forms of treatment until their effectiveness and safety are proven through double-blind, placebo-controlled studies.
Since there’s still little evidence of efficacy of ED treatment with stem cells, it is too early to call it ‘the next Viagra’. Nevertheless, future seems bright for both the researches and the ED patients who currently show limited response to treatment with PDE-5 inhibitors.
- Huang, SA, Lie, JD, Efficacy of oral PDE-5 inhibitors in treating erectile dysfunction - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3776492/
- Rendell MS et al, Efficacy of sildenafil in patients with erectile dysfunction and diabetes - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9952201
- Haahr MK et al, 12-month follow-up after single stem cell injection in patients with erectile dysfunction after radical prostatectomy - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0090429518305867
- Lin CS et al, Stem cell therapy for treatment of erectile dysfunction - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51525332_Stem_Cell_Therapy_for_Erectile_Dysfunction_A_Critical_Review
- Levy JA et al, Effects of stem cell therapy in humans with Peyronie’s disease - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26414724
- Matz EL et al, Stem cell therapy for erectile dysfunction - https://www.smr.jsexmed.org/article/S2050-0521(18)30014-3/pdf
- Stem cell therapy for erectile dysfunction offered at the Center for Regenerative Cell Medicine - https://www.mystemcelltherapy.com/stem-cell-treatments/urological-disorders/erectile-dysfunction/
- Facebook reviews from patients receiving stem cell therapy at the Center for Regenerative Cell Medicine - https://www.facebook.com/pg/MyStemCellTherapy/reviews/?referrer=page_recommendations_see_all&ref=page_internal
- Stem cell therapy for ED should be avoided until more data on its effectiveness and safety is available - https://www.healthline.com/health-news/erectile-dysfunction-stem-cell-treatments-beware-of-scams#2