05/06/2003 - News

Gene therapy could protect from erectile dysfunction

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Treating patients with gene therapy before removing the prostate gland could prevent erectile dysfunction.

Radical prostatectomy is a potentially life-saving treatment for prostate cancer. But removal of the prostate gland often damages the nerves required to have an erection. Faced with the possibility of damage to their sex life, through erectile dysfunction, many men are reluctant to opt for this surgery.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh now reveal that gene therapy could protect a man undergoing prostatectomy from erectile dysfunction. Working with mice, they found that delivering a gene that helps the recovery of injured nerves, is effective in preserving erectile function. Hopefully further research will show that this gene therapy works in humans too. A man with prostate cancer could then be treated with the gene therapy before prostate removal, to help minimize nerve damage.


American Urological Association 28th April 2003

Created on: 05/06/2003
Reviewed on: 05/06/2003

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