A Serious Health Issue
Peyronie’s disease is a serious health issue affecting millions of men in the United States. It is believed that this disease impacts around 6% of men between the ages of 40 and 70, although that number may be considerably higher because many men may be too embarrassed to seek help from a medical professional and may just resign themselves to the condition. Although it affects the male external sexual apparatus, Peyronie’s disease is not a disease that can be “caught” from others, nor does any known communicable disease cause it. Peyronie’s disease occurs when flat segments of scar tissue, known as plaque, forms under the skin of the penis, usually on one side – causing it to bend to that side. This plaque is not the same type that can build in a person’s arteries – therefore diet and exercise cannot prevent it from forming. Most often, the buildup of this plaque over time can lead to progressively worsening curvature of the penile towards the plaque, especially during periods of sexual arousal. The degree of curvature can be as much as 90 degrees-a right angle! The more severe curvature can be very painful, especially during attempted intercourse for both parties; and the condition can lead to further complications such as penile scarring, penile shortening, erectile dysfunction (ED), and decreased interest in sex with a loss of libido. Signs and symptoms include: the curvature of the penis to one side with hard lump(s) felt on one or both sides of the penis, painful erections for both parties, sub-optimal erections, and trouble completing intercourse owing to pain, soft erection or embarrassment. Although experts are unsure of how to prevent Peyronie’s disease before it starts, there are viable treatment options available at present, but none has gained universal approval. Surgical repair (accomplished through straightening, grafting, or using a prosthesis) has been the most advocated treatment so far; yet surgery has also been strongly correlated with further penile scarring, shortening, and worsening ED. Non-surgical options, such as supplements, steroids, and injections, have limited benefits and do not usually result in better treatment outcomes than a placebo. However, a pilot study testing the efficacy of SVF (stromal vascular fraction) derived from the patient’s own fat cells is showing remarkable results.
Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF)
When fat is harvested for therapeutic stem cells, the final product is known as Stromal Vascular Fraction– tissue soup! SVF is primarily made up of stem cells, cytokines and growth factors, which are powerful molecular messengers that are produced by cells to talk and signal to other cells to perform a function, usually regenerative and reparative. Growth factors and cytokines in SVF also have anti-inflammatory and Immunogenetics-modulators effects and can call in specialized cells to boost function. Stem cells, regardless of source, have two characteristics in common. First, they have the ability to make infinite copies of themselves; and, second, they have the innate ability to turn into whatever type of tissue cell their locality requires of them in the body. Replicating oneself as a stem cell is necessary to maintain the stem cell supply pool; while differentiation into other cell types is part of the essence of ideal tissue repair. Thus, fat-derived stem cells can differentiate and metamorphose into skin, bone, cartilage, or muscle and other cell types in accordance with signal dictated by need. When injected into a weakened muscle, stem cells can become healthy muscle cells, and when injected into an arthritic joint, SVT works to repair the cartilage. The commonest sources of stem cells are fat (adipose derived), bone marrow and umbilical cord. Adipose stem cells are more plentiful in the body and are more easily obtained than either bone marrow or umbilical cord stem cells.
Autologous SVF can be extracted using a simple outpatient mini-liposuction procedure and deployed both intravenously and into patient’s Peyronie’s penile plaque. This procedure has allowed the surgeons to harness the significant reparative potential of the vast numbers of adult mesenchymal stem cells and the potent anti-inflammatory effects of cytokines and growth factors found in the adipose tissue. Prior to the deployment of SVF intravenously and locally, we target the penile tissues and stimulate them, including the covert parts of the genitalia within the perineum and pelvis. We stimulate them with a non-painful modality, which sends pressure or shockwaves, known as Extracorporeal Pressure Activation Technology (EPAT) or Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT). This safe deployment of shock waves has evolved from the original paradigm- changing machine which appeared in 1980 and made history in ridding the patient of kidney stones without surgery- the lithotripsy machine.Evolution in design and capability of the original lithotripsy machine has resulted in machines that can deliver pressure or shock waves that can also treat cellulite, scars, stretch marks, musculoskeletal and orthopedic injuries, ED, Peyronie’s and chronic prostatitis. In this case, EPAT prepares the site for SVF deployment, activates the dormant stem cells within the SVF, and promotes further healing following treatment. Deployment of SVF is accomplished by inserting a small needle into the shaft of the penis (which has been numbed with local anesthesia) close to the site of plaque accumulation. This procedure can be performed 2-3 days after the initial shock wave therapy treatment, which stimulates the site and begins to loosen the plaque structure. A set of three EPAT treatments are given, with the second usually accompanying the deployment of adipose-derived SVF. EPAT also serves to disrupt the plaque formation and aid in disintegration.
In the pilot study, 11 individuals between the ages of 52-70 affected by Peyronie’s disease were treated with a combination of autologous SVF and ESWT. Clinically-significant results were reported by all 11 patients at the 6-month mark with no adverse effects. Unlike surgical interventions, no patients reported lingering pain, shortening, or ED. All patients reported significant straightening of the penis; some even reported complete resolution with full return to pre-Peyronie’s status. Substantial reduction in plaque deposits and size were reported by the entire study population, with seven reporting improvement in erectile function also.
SVF derived from autologous adipose tissue is known to possess scar mitigation, anti-inflammatory, regenerative, and immune-supportive properties. Due to the property of specialization allowing autologous stem cells to become whatever the patient’s body and condition requires, SVF has been effectively used to treat a variety of conditions from arthritis to Parkinson’s Disease. SVF, rich in mesenchymal stem cells, can be obtained utilizing an outpatient, closed surgical system in a same-day setting. These cells can then be injected intravenously and directly into Peyronie’s plaques resulting in plaque migration.
Gulf Coast Stem Cell & Regenerative Center
At Gulf Coast Stem Cell & Regenerative Center, which is an affiliate partner of the Cell Surgical Network (publishing the study), we conduct patient-funded research with the intention of managing patients’ medically and surgically defiant conditions with their own autologous stem cells. We aid in the management of autoimmune, degenerative, inflammatory, and ischemic conditions, and our highly skilled team of providers is committed to the goal of alleviating symptoms, enhancing functionality, and improving overall quality-of-life for our patients.
Contact Gulf Coast Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center and let us show you what “Excellence with a Human Touch” means. For more information on the full list of diseases and disorders that we currently address, please call (866) 885-4823 or contact us today!