3/24/2019

15 Years Ago: Gene Transfer Emerges Successful In Treating ED

In an experiment conducted at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and New York University School of Medicine from May 2004-May 2006, researchers Christ and Melman inserted small pieces of DNA in the corpus cavernosum of 11 erectile dysfunction patients and successfully treated their erectile dysfunction. Besides Christ and Melman, the other researchers assembled for the experiment were Natan Bar-Chama, Andrew McCullough and Kelvin Davies.

The individuals picked up for gene therapy experimentation aged between 42 to 80 years. Six out of them were white while four were black and one was Hispanic. Half of all these men were suffering from erectile dysfunction on account of diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Pieces of DNA, mixed into the plasma, were injected and thereafter whole arrays of clinical as well as laboratory tests were carried out to measure safety.

The specific gene therapy that Christ and Arnold Melman developed while working together at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx , New York is unlike traditional gene therapy that changes the genetic code of cells to treat erectile dysfunction. In the experiment, Christ and Arnold Melman inserted small pieces of DNA into the corpus cavernosum, a tissue stationed along the length of the penis, of the erectile dysfunction afflicted people and consequently a specific kind of protein was produced which further led to the relaxation of the muscle cells.

Along with the transference of genes to the erectile dysfunction patients, a whole array of medical tests were conducted to confirm safety and finally the effectiveness as well as the accuracy of the treatment, which was calculated by using International Index of Erectile Function scale, a questionnaire generally used for the measurement of erectile dysfunction.

Though the recent results of the study were based on 24 weeks improvement, the treatment through gene therapy is capable of lasting for a month. This treatment procedure has emerged as an alternative to the erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra and Cialis. With the results of the study appearing online in "Human Gene Therapy", researchers around the world have become hopeful that gene therapy would evolve as a suitable mode of treatment for disorders like asthma, irritable bowel syndrome and overactive bladder also.

This hope has been strengthened by the statement uttered by George Christ, senior researcher and professor at the Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, that stresses on the fact that along with erectile dysfunction, gene therapy can also be a suitable mode of treatment for other ailments involving smooth muscle cells.

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