Miami Researcher Awarded $3.25M DOD Grant to Tackle
Male Infertility in Spinal Cord Injury Patients

March 2, 2023

The Department of Defense has granted $3.25 million to Emad Ibrahim, M.D., Director of the Male Fertility Research Program at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and the Clinical Andrology Lab at the Desai Sethi Urology Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, for a four-year study on the use of probenecid, an oral medication used to treat gout, as a potential treatment for the infertility issues commonly experienced by men with spinal cord injuries. Men with spinal cord injuries suffer from erectile dysfunction and infertility due to their inability to ejaculate, leading to difficulties in producing sperm. The majority of the sperm that they produce are dead, and they are unable to produce enough sperm.

Researchers at the Miller School have been studying the fertility issues that men with spinal cord injury face since 2004. Spinal cord injury leads to inflammation, and the body produces substances called cytokines in response. Cytokines are toxic to sperm, so researchers studied ways to eliminate or at least minimize their effects on sperm. They discovered that a medication called probenecid that has been used for years to treat gout can help protect male fertility by blocking the cascade that results in cytokine activation.

During the study, researchers will follow 100 men with spinal cord injury for six months, and subjects will receive either three months of placebo or three months of probenecid. Researchers will also test for DNA damage in sperm before and after treatment to determine if there is any improvement. Infertility is a significant issue for men with spinal cord injury, and improving the quality of their sperm with a low-cost, safe treatment could make them candidates for less expensive, more natural therapeutic options such as insemination.



One response to “Miami Researcher Awarded $3.25M DOD Grant to Tackle”

  1. Mike Thompson says:

    I’m interested in your study. I have been a quad since 2014. I can feel when I have to urine but can’t control it. I can get an erection but have been unable to orgasm.

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