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Muscle-derived cells and gene therapy may cure for post-prostatectomy erectile dysfunction

SAN FRANCISCO, May 11 Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh will present results of three studies that show that gene therapy and injections of muscle-derived cells may be effective treatments for post-prostatectomy erectile dysfunction (ED). Almost 80 percent of men who undergo radical prostatectomies experience ED due to damage to the nerves essential to achieving and maintaining an erection. Results of the studies were presented today at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) in San Francisco.

"While radical prostatectomy can be a cure for early-stage prostate cancer in a large percentage of patients, there are a number of risks and side effects that patients must consider when deciding on whether to have the surgery one of those being the high likelihood of experiencing erectile dysfunction," said Michael Chancellor, M.D., senior author of all three studies and professor of urology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "In our lab, we are seeing that by two treatments one involving the injection of muscle-derived cells, the other involving the delivery of neurotrophic factors via gene therapy we can minimize nerve damage and facilitate nerve recovery, preserving the patient's ability to have an erection. As a result, the patient may be less reluctant to have the potentially life-saving procedure."

Radical prostatectomy is used to treat the early stages of prostate cancer by surgically removing the prostate gland and surrounding tissue. The procedure has a success rate of 70 to 85 percent. A high percentage of patients experience ED after the procedure due to injury to the peripheral nerves, including the cavernous nerve, located close to the prostate gland.

Glial Cell-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) Improves Erectile Dysfunction in a Model of Post-Radical Prostatecomy Erectile Dysfunction Abstract 1421

In this study, presented by Jang Hwan Kim, Ph.D., researchers injec
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Contact: Jocelyn Uhl
UhlJH@upmc.edu
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
11-May-2004


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