One day in the not too distance future middle-aged males will walk into a Regenerative Medicine Clinic and receive their own stem cells to treat low testosterone. No more testosterone gels or creams to apply to the skin, no more testosterone injections, and no more having testosterone pellets implanted every 4 to 6 months. If it sounds like science, it is. If it sounds like science fiction, it is not. It is reality. Today we discuss the use of stem cell treatment for low testosterone.
The use of stem cells to treat a host of medical problems is one ground-breaking and exciting area of development in medicine. The technology to harvest and transplant stem cells is further along than both the general public and medical community may realize.
Stem cells are already be used in the United States to treat orthopedic problems, congestive heart failure, skin aging, and neuro-degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. In fact, if you suffer from one of these conditions you owe it to yourself to explore and see if you are a candidate for stem cell therapy before considering more traditional forms for therapy.
*While the United States is felt by some to be lagging behind countries in Europe, Central America, and South America when it comes to stem cell therapy, it is engaged in the most research on stem cells with over 300 studies actively underway.
How Many Men Have Low Testosterone?
Based on laboratory values it is estimated that a third of elderly males have low testosterone, or male hypogonadism, though more than a third of men suffer from symptoms of low testosterone. A man can have symptoms of low testosterone despite having so-called normal testosterone levels.
This means there are millions of men who could potentially benefit from stem cell therapy for low testosterone, or any testosterone therapy for that matter.
Testosterone is produced by the Leydig cells in the testes. As men age Leydig cells die, a process that typically begins in the 30s. In addition, each surviving Leydig cell produces less and less testosterone with each passing year. The net result of this normal aging process is less testosterone. This decline in testosterone is accelerated in men suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and, obesity.
Stem Cells and Low Testosterone
How is stem cell treatment for low testosterone done? Well, it is in the preliminary stages of development. Chinese researchers at Jinan University successfully reprogrammed fibroblasts from the skin of mice and rats (fibroblasts are a type of stem cell) and converted them into Leydig cells. They then successfully transplanted the new Leydig cells back into testosterone deficient rats and mice. The newly programmed Leydig cells survived and produced testosterone restoring testosterone levels to normal.
It is really amazing stuff when you step back and think about it.
Our study is the first to report a method for generating Leydig cells by means of direct cell reprogramming. This alternative source of Leydig cells will be of great significance for basic research and provides the attractive prospect of clinical application in the field of regenerative medicine, says lead researcher of the study, Yadong Huang.
Today’s testosterone therapies are very successful, but each has its own set of nuisance adverse effects and limitations either in replicating the body’s natural ebb and flow (diurnal) production of testosterone or in just plane inconvenience (applying gels daily, injecting oneself with biweekly or weekly testosterone injections or having to limit activity for a few days following pellet therapy every 4-6 months), all of which would be eliminated by reprogrammed stem cell conversion into Leydig cells.
Stem cell treatment for low testosterone – stay tuned for more on this exciting development.