It is relatively common for men recovering from prostate surgery to experience erectile dysfunction during recovery. Research shows that up to 80% of men have difficulty having sex in the months following the operation.
A clinical trial is pointing to the possibility of stem cells being used to help treat erectile dysfunction in these cases.
In the first-phase of clinical trials, eight out of 15 men who were unable to have an erection after their prostate surgery, had sex six months after one-time treatment of stem cells.
The procedure involves removing fat cells from a patient’s abdomen via liposuction. After a specialised treatment, these are transformed into all-purpose stem cells.
The stem cells are then injected into the penis, where they begin to change in to nerve and muscle cells, as well as the endothelial cells that line blood vessels.
The 12 month follow up showed that the success of the treatment was ongoing.
“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,” said Lars Lund, a professor at Odense University hospital in Denmark.
“That is much better than taking a pill every time you want to have intercourse,” he said.
The study has been so successful, that the next stage, a double- blind randomised trial has been approved. This study will include a placebo group
Only men recovering from prostate cancer and able to control their bladders will be enrolled in the new experiments, Lund explained.