Can stem cells help men with erectile dysfunction (ED) or Peyronie’s disease? Scientists have been investigating the use of one particular type of stem cell, but the data for these purposes are “deficient” according to a new study in Sexual Medicine Reviews.
The authors analyzed several medical studies on the subject.
There are over 200 types of cells in the human body. What distinguishes stem cells is their ability to develop into other types of cells. One common example of stem cell therapy is bone marrow transplantation, but scientists are looking for ways that stems cells might treat illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
In time, ED and Peyronie’s disease might also be treated with stem cells. In the study, researchers focused on stromal vascular faction (SVF), described as “the heterogenous mixture” that forms adipose-derived stem cells. (Adipose is another term for fat. These stem cells come from fat tissue.)
SVF is “ideal” for the formation of new blood vessels, the authors noted, making them particularly interesting for ED therapies. Often, erection problems occur because blocked blood vessels can’t allow enough blood to flow into the penis.
Scientists also think that SVF might regenerate damaged tissue.
Still, there is more work to be done. The study authors explained that research on SVF for the treatment of men’s sexual problems is “limited” and that “a substantial number” of studies will need to be completed before clinical trials or practice on humans can be considered.
They suggested several areas for future researchers to consider:
- If SVF is deemed viable, at what point should a doctor suggest it?
- Can SVF treat severe ED?
- Can SVF help men who develop ED after prostate cancer surgery?
- How much will SVF cost?
- How long does it take to complete SVF treatment?
- Should any other treatments be done at the same time as SVF?
- What else can we learn about how SVF works?
“Quality basic science, translational work, and clinical trials will facilitate appropriate standardization of SVF treatment and accelerate approval by regulatory agencies,” the authors concluded.
International Society for Stem Cell Research
“Stem Cell Basics”
Stöppler, Melissa Conrad, MD
(Reviewed: September 8, 2016)
Sexual Medicine Reviews
Haney, Nora M., BS, et al.
“The Use of Stromal Vascular Fraction in the Treatment of Male Sexual Dysfunction: A Review of Preclinical and Clinical Studies”
(Full-text. Published online: June 27, 2018)