A University of Miami Miller School of Medicine urologist was awarded a significant grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a first-of-its-kind study for treating erectile dysfunction using a combination of platelet-rich plasma and shockwave therapy.
“This is a promising strategy for restoring blood flow to the penis,” said Ranjith Ramasamy, M.D., associate professor, director of Reproductive Urology, and a specialist in the treatment of disorders of male infertility and sexual dysfunction. “Combining two regenerative modalities could potentially be a game-changer in treating the underlying cause of vascular-related erectile dysfunction (ED).”
Dr. Ramasamy is the principal investigator for the COCKTAIL study, “Combined Shockwave Therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma for the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction.” The study is funded by a three-year grant for $925,000 from the NIH’s National Institute for Digestive Disorders and Kidney Diseases. The Research Project (R01) grant is an award made to support a discrete, specified, circumscribed project with strong preliminary data to be performed by an established investigator based on the mission of the NIH.
‘This is an important milestone for Dr. Ramasamy and the field of men’s health. The RO1 grant is reflective of his status as an independent investigator and will allow evaluation of two novel therapies in treating men with erectile dysfunction with high-level evidence,” said Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., professor and chair of urology, director of robotic surgery, and the Victor A. Politano Endowed Chair in Urology. “The grant award is a culmination of Dr. Ramasamy’s immense talents and perseverance over the past several years, setting an example for future surgeon scientists to follow.’
Dr. Ramasamy plans to enroll 60 participants in the randomized interventional study involving weekly low-intensity shockwave therapy and injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP). “In our previous clinical trial, we have found that using high-energy ultrasound to deliver shockwaves is associated with an increase in blood flow to the penis,” he said.
Last year, Dr. Ramasamy launched the first controlled study in the United States for treating erectile dysfunction using PRP monotherapy. That UM-funded study, “Safety and Efficacy of Autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma for Erectile Dysfunction,” is still underway.
Drawing on his experience with both regenerative therapies, Dr. Ramasamy will now be evaluating the potential benefits of a combination treatment. “Our hope is that there will be a synergistic effect,” he said. “Rather than taking a pill for temporary relief of the symptoms, we could offer a safe and effective long-term restorative treatment for our patients’ underlying vascular issues.”