Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study of gene transfer for erectile dysfunction shows promise

01.12.2006
The first human study using gene transfer to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) shows promising results and suggests the potential for using the technology to treat overactive bladder, irritable bowel syndrome and asthma, according to the researchers.

"In the small pilot study, this new therapy was well tolerated and safe," said George Christ, Ph.D., senior researcher and a professor at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "It provides evidence that gene transfer is a viable approach to treating ED and other diseases involving smooth muscle cells."

The results of the study, which included 11 men with ED, are reported online today in Human Gene Therapy. The technology was developed by Christ and Arnold Melman, M.D., when they worked together at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.

Unlike traditional gene therapy, the gene transfer approach being pioneered by Christ and Melman does not change the DNA or genetic code of cells. Instead, small pieces of DNA reach the nuclei of cells and this causes them to increase production of particular proteins. These proteins help relax smooth muscle cells, the type of muscle found in the penis as well as in hollow organs such as the bladder. Relaxing the tissue allows the penis to fill with blood and become erect.

Previous research has shown that more than 50 percent of men between 40 and 70 years old and 70 percent over age 70 may have ED. The new therapy is a potential alternative to oral medications, such as Viagra, which are not effective for an estimated 30 to 40 percent of men with ED.

A possible advantage of gene transfer is that a single treatment could last for months. In the current study, improvements were maintained through the 24 weeks of study.

The study was conducted from May 2004 to May 2006 at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and New York University School of Medicine. Men ranged from 42 to 80 years old with a mean age of 59. Six subjects were white, four were black and one was Hispanic. In half of the subjects, the cause of ED was diabetes or cardiovascular disease – both of which can interfere with the ability of smooth muscle cells to relax.

The primary goal of the study was to determine the safety and tolerability of the new therapy. However, the results also showed that at the highest doses, men reported highly significant improvements in erectile function.

The DNA segments – mixed into plasma – were injected into the corpus cavernosum, expandable tissue along the length of the penis that fills with blood during erection. A variety of clinical and laboratory tests were used to assess safety. In addition, effectiveness was measured using the International Index of Erectile Function scale, a questionnaire that is commonly used to measure ED. Patient responses were validated by their partners.

Researchers identified no safety issues with the treatment. Participants who received the highest two doses had apparent sustained improvements in ED as measured by the questionnaire. The researchers said that a larger study that includes a "control" group treated with a placebo is needed to confirm the safety and effectiveness of the treatment.

Other researchers on the project were Melman, Natan Bar-Chama, M.D., with Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Andrew McCullough, M.D., with New York University School of Medicine, and Kelvin Davies, Ph.D., with Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The technology is being developed by Ion Channel Innovations (ICI), a development stage biotechnology company, in which Christ and Melman are co-founders and directing members. The therapy is known as ion channel therapy because the proteins it targets are potassium channels, "gates" within cells critical for contraction and relaxation of smooth muscle.

At the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Christ is continuing to pursue the therapy in collaboration with ICI, and is also exploring the potential of combining gene transfer with traditional oral medications to further increase the clinical utility of the technology. The Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University owns the ICT patents and has granted the company exclusive, worldwide rights.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>