Genetic therapy for a troubled sex life
A NEW form of gene therapy could be used to treat impotence in diabetic men.
In the study, a team led by Jesse Mills, of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Centre, in Denver, first induced diabetes-like symptoms in male rats, which developed erection problems as a result. The researchers then injected the animals’ penises with extra copies of a gene involved in the growth of a key signalling chemical that is important to erections.
Diabetic rats that were given the gene therapy showed a significant increase in erectile pressure, compared with control animals. Dr Mills is now planning to conduct human trials of the technique, which he hopes will be ready for treating patients within five years.
Dr Mills told the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference that the gene therapy coupled with Viagra could restore 92 to 93 per cent of erectile function. He said: “We envision that diabetic men will be able to visit the clinic for an injection and for a month after they’ll be ready to go.”
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