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What are Stem Cells? Can Stem Cells Treat Erectile Dysfunction?
We all have cells that get old, die, and need to be replaced with new cells. Our stem cells divide as much as needed to repair and replace them. The younger you are, the younger your stem cells and the better they do their job.
Stem cells are progenitor cells from which other cells in the body originate. They are undifferentiated cells that are capable of becoming different types of cells in the body. This property of stem cells gives them the ability to renew and repair damaged tissue.
Stem cells help to eliminate the cause of disorders leading to a reduction in symptoms or a full recovery, depending on the initial condition.
In the context of erectile dysfunction, stem cells stimulate the function of endothelial cells in the penis as well as cavernous smooth muscle cells, which are key components of erections.
How does this treatment work to improve your erection?
It’s able to address the blood flow issues of ED on a cellular level.
Basically, when your penis can’t spring a full erection, your penis tissue remains in a hypoxic state, which means it’s not getting enough oxygen. This can negatively affect blood flow—not enough blood can flow in to make you get hard.
Stem cells increase blood flow to the penis through the nitric oxide pathway, which stimulates the nerves that lead to erections.
Stem cells prevent oxygen loss, allowing enough blood to go in and out, helping you get—and stay—hard.
Treatment could work long term. The erectile abilities will still going strong 12 months after their injection.
What’s more, this type of treatment may be preferable to temporary treatments like Viagra or injections like alprostadil because it has fewer side effects than those avenues. Also, it allows for more spontaneity, since you don’t have to pop a pill or get an injection beforehand to get hard, he adds.
Sources of Stem Cells for Treatment of ED in Men
There are different types of stem cells in the body that can be used for the treatment of various medical conditions including erectile dysfunction:
- ADSCs: Adipose-derived stem cells (or adipose-derived stromal cells)
- ADRCs: Adipose-derived regenerative cells
- MSCs: Mesenchymal stem cells (or marrow stromal cells)
Fat-derived or adipose-tissue-derived stem cells: This is the most commonly used source of stem cells for the treatment of ED in men. Fat cells are obtained by liposuction typically from adipose tissue in the buttocks. Fat tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) which are progenitor stem cells that can be used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. One benefit of using fat-derived MSCs is that a large number of stem cells can be obtained in a short period of time directly from the patient.
Umbilical cord or placental stem cells: The umbilical cord and placenta are rich sources of stem cells and are a possible source of stem cells that can be easily obtained during the delivery of babies. In general, umbilical cord and placental stem cells are thought to not be immunogenic.
Bone-marrow-derived stem cells (BMSCs): The bone marrow is another source of stem cells that can be obtained from the patient. However, the number of bone marrow stem cells is small and typically these stem cells need to be multiplied in the laboratory before they are reintroduced into the patient for treatment. However Bone-marrow stem cells are considered more effective.