In today's Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences, scientists describe how they transformed stem cells into functioning Leydig cells -- the cells in the testes that produce the male sex hormone.
"Our study provides a way to generate possible transplantation materials for clinical therapies, as well as a path toward testing and developing new drugs," said Vassilios Papadopoulos, dean of the USC School of Pharmacy, who led the research.
Millions - Men - Testosterone - Hypogonadism - Mood
Millions of men have low testosterone, or hypogonadism, which impacts mood, fertility, sexual function, obesity and bone density -- and testosterone replacement therapy is a multibillion-dollar industry. Testosterone tapers off naturally with age but can also decrease suddenly due infections like mumps, or cancer treatment during childhood.
Testosterone replacement therapy -- injected, taken orally or applied as a gel -- reverses many of these symptoms.
Function - Returns - Papadopoulos - Men - Testosterone
"You feel better, you lose weight, erectile function returns," Papadopoulos said. "Men love testosterone."
However, treatment for "low T" is linked to side effects such as infertility, increased risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, topical treatments can rub off on close contacts, inadvertently exposing others to the drug. A transplant of lab-grown testosterone-producing cells, perhaps injected into fatty tissue, could potentially bypass those side effects, researchers say.
Attempts - Leydig - Cells - Study - Cells
Previous attempts to cultivate Leydig cells have come up short. In one study, the lab-grown cells produced cortisol, not testosterone, Papadopoulos said. Other experiments have involved stem cells from bone marrow or the umbilical cord; harvesting these cells is more labor-intensive and they do not multiply as well in the lab.
In Papadopoulos's experiment...
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Why do democrats never have to face the reality of what's on the ground, like 2000 years of marriage.