The stem cell therapy involves injecting the patients’ own stem cells – derived from abdominal fat cells – into the erectile tissue of the penis.

Early results of a clinical trial suggest that stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for erectile dysfunction, after the procedure was found to restore sexual function in men with the condition.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition whereby a man has difficulties getting or maintaining an erection in order to engage in sexual intercourse.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases, around 12 percent of men under the age of 60, and 22 percent of men aged between 60 and 69, have ED.

High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and prostate surgery are some of the physical conditions that can cause ED. Psychological issues – such as anxiety, stress, depression, and low self-esteem – can also contribute to ED.

Stem cell therapy has emerged as a promising candidate for treating sexual dysfunction without side effects.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are the body’s raw materials — cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are generated. Under the right conditions in the body or a laboratory, stem cells divide to form more cells called daughter cells.

These daughter cells either become new stem cells (self-renewal) or become specialized cells (differentiation) with a more specific function, such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells, or bone cells. No other cell in the body has the natural ability to generate new cell types.

How does stem cell therapy work?

There are many different types of stem cells. For the treatment of erectile dysfunction, two types of adult stem cells are commonly used:

  • adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ADSCs), harvested from the body’s own fat;
  • bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSCs).

For the stem cell procedure, abdominal fat cells are extracted through liposuction. Stem cells are then isolated from the fat cells and injected into the corpus cavernosum of the penis – the spongy tissue that normally becomes filled with blood during an erection.

Why fat stem cells?

Harvesting adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) is much easier and less invasive than harvesting either bone marrow or muscle-derived stem cells. Fat is abundant in the body and is obtained using minimally invasive liposuction. ADSCs have a significantly higher concentration of mesenchymal stem cells, which have the ability to self-renew, clone, and differentiate into multiple tissues.

This procedure is also referred to as autologous stem cell therapy, which means the donor and the recipient are the same people. Because of the high volume of stem cells found in fat tissue, there is no need to culture the cells or wait for them to grow. They can be harvested, concentrated into a stem cell-rich mixture, and re-injected into the treatment area on the same day of the procedure.

Throughout the United States, it is popular among doctors to use liquid-based stem cells.

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