Gene therapy for erectile dysfunction shows promise in clinical trial

December 01, 2006

December 1, 2006 -- The first human trial of gene transfer therapy for erectile dysfunction (ED) indicates that gene therapy that lasts for months and eliminates the patient's need for on-demand drugs (such as Viagra and Cialis), could become the future treatment of choice for this common problem, according to a paper in the most recent issue of Human Gene Therapy.

Lead author Arnold Melman, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Urology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, says, "This is an exciting field of research because current treatments for men with erectile dysfunction, whether pills or minimally invasive therapies, must be used 'on demand', thereby reducing the spontaneity of the sexual act."

Erectile dysfunction affects more than 50 percent of men aged 40 to70 and 70 percent above age 70, according to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study.

Dr. Melman and two study centers worked with 11 men and administered various doses of a transfer gene called hMaxi-K. "While this phase 1 safety trial was not designed to provide efficacy answers, one patient in each of the higher dose groups (5000 and 7500 micrograms) reported clinically significant and sustained improvements in ED. And, there have been no adverse effects with the patients in the study, so it has been proven to be safe," he adds.

Because there has been widely publicized adverse results using viruses as agents to transfer genes into humans, Dr. Melman has chosen to transfer the hMaxi-K gene using "naked DNA," a form of circular DNA which remains independent and does not integrate with chromosomal DNA in the muscle cells.

"The hMaxi-K stimulates potassium ion transfer in the smooth muscle cells of the penis," says Dr. Melman. The hMaxi-K gene works by creating additional potassium channels (the chemical symbol for potassium is 'K') in the smooth muscle cell of the penis. This relaxes the muscle and allows blood flow required for an erection.

"Because this novel therapeutic approach of ion channel therapy works on smooth muscle, it is also promising for overactive bladder disease," adds Dr. Melman.
-end-
Dr. Melman, with George Christ, PhD, developed the process for ion channel therapy at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, which owns the patents. Montefiore is the academic medical center for Einstein. Einstein has granted licensing rights for the patent to a company called Ion Channel Innovations, which was founded by Dr. Melman, and under whose sponsorship the clinical trials are being conducted. The two study centers in the trials were Mount Sinai Medical Center and NYU Medical Center

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Related Gene Therapy Articles from Brightsurf:

Risk of AAV mobilization in gene therapy
New data highlight safety concerns for the replication of recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vectors commonly used in gene therapy.

Discovery challenges the foundations of gene therapy
An article published today in Science Translational Medicine by scientists from Children's Medical Research Institute has challenged one of the foundations of the gene therapy field and will help to improve strategies for treating serious genetic disorders of the liver.

Gene therapy: Novel targets come into view
Retinitis pigmentosa is the most prevalent form of congenital blindness.

Gene therapy targets inner retina to combat blindness
Batten disease is a group of fatal, inherited lysosomal storage disorders that predominantly affect children.

New Human Gene Therapy editorial: Concern following gene therapy adverse events
Response to the recent report of the deaths of two children receiving high doses of a gene therapy vector (AAV8) in a Phase I trial for X-linked myotubular myopathy (MTM).

Restoring vision by gene therapy
Latest scientific findings give hope for people with incurable retinal degeneration.

Gene therapy/gene editing combo could offer hope for some genetic disorders
A hybrid approach that combines elements of gene therapy with gene editing converted an experimental model of a rare genetic disease into a milder form, significantly enhancing survival, shows a multi-institutional study led by the University of Pennsylvania and Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C.

New technology allows control of gene therapy doses
Scientists at Scripps Research in Jupiter have developed a special molecular switch that could be embedded into gene therapies to allow doctors to control dosing.

Gene therapy: Development of new DNA transporters
Scientists at the Institute of Pharmacy at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed new delivery vehicles for future gene therapies.

Gene therapy promotes nerve regeneration
Researchers from the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and the Leiden University Medical Center have shown that treatment using gene therapy leads to a faster recovery after nerve damage.

Read More: Gene Therapy News and Gene Therapy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.