Research in pharmacotherapy for erectile dysfunction
Although oral phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors are generally accepted as an effective therapy for erectile dysfunction (ED), men with ED from diabetes or radical prostatectomy respond poorly to these drugs. Many researchers have tried to develop novel therapeutics that target alternative molecular pathways. A group of therapeutics belongs to centrally acting agents that target dopamine and melanocortin receptors. The other one is the peripherally acting agents that target soluble guanylate cyclase, Rho-kinase pathway, and Maxi-K channel, etc. Also, a variety of preclinical studies by the application of biotherapies in the concept of therapeutic angiogenesis or neural regeneration as well as anti-fibrosis to regenerate damaged erectile tissue have been reported. This article will address the current therapeutic targets for ED under clinical or preclinical development, including pharmacotherapy and biotherapy which comprises protein therapy and gene therapy. In spite of numerous clinical trials that target alternative pathways, these agents have yet to reach the market. The results from preclinical studies targeting therapeutic angiogenesis, neural regeneration, and anti-fibrosis are promising.