MONDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- A "nanoparticle" topical treatment for erectile dysfunction appears to work well, at least in a study involving rats.
According to the researchers, five of seven rats developed erections after their penises received a coating of a special hybrid of nanoparticles that slowly released nitric oxide (NO), which relaxes cells in the penis to help blood vessels open, bringing in more blood and swelling the tissues.
The rats' average erectile response to the treatment was about an hour, according to the research team headed by members from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y.
Erectile dysfunction, which is estimated to affect up to 30 million American men, can range from being able to only briefly sustain an erection to not being able to achieve one at all, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Several types of oral or injectable medications are currently available to manage the condition.
The study is scheduled to be presented this week in Chicago at the annual scientific meeting of the American Urological Association.
"This is a very interesting concept which has potential to impact treatment of many conditions, including erectile dysfunction, if it can be translated from the animal lab to clinical practice," American Urological Association spokesman Dr. Ira D. Sharlip said in a news release issued by the organization. "It remains to be seen whether the effect of the nanoparticle technology is a local or a systemic effect."
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about erectile dysfunction.