GAINSWave® Treatment in Charleston, SC

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Few things are guaranteed in life, but there is one thing that you can count on for sure: as time goes on, your body is going to age. While most men in their late teens through their twenties might feel invincible, it's only a matter of time before age starts to play a role in everyday life. Injuries take longer to recover from, hangovers take longer to dissipate, aches and pains become a normal part of life, and intimate time with your partner can be compromised. If you have experienced any of the symptoms above, don't worry - it's completely normal to slow down as you get older.

The question is, what are you going to do about the aging process? For years, men were told to just "live with it," but in 2021, those days are over. The time to fight back is here, and there has never been a better opportunity to live your best life than now. Nobody understands the effects that aging can have on men but our team of professionals at Better Life do. That is why we invest all of our time developing innovative, effective men's health solutions: to give men a chance to change their future and live like they did while they were in their prime. If you're ready to take a stand against ED and live a more energetic, youthful life, know that you're not alone. At Better Life Carolinas, we are here to help by providing the most scientifically advanced treatments on the market today.

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GAINSWave® Treatment In Charleston, SC

When it comes to men's health, the topic of sex can still feel taboo, especially when there are performance issues involved. At Better Life Carolinas, we have heard just about every story you can imagine regarding erectile dysfunction or ED. So if you're embarrassed and angry about your performance in the bedroom, we understand how you're feeling. In the past, men had to take strange drugs or sign off on expensive surgeries to help correct their ED, adding to their feelings of shame and hopelessness.

The good news? If you're a man dealing with ED, you don't have to settle for antiquated treatments like those referenced above. There's a new product on the block: a revolutionary, non-invasive treatment that is the first of it's kind. It's called GAINSWave®, and you can bet your bottom dollar that it isn't like anything else you have tried before.

Unlike most ED treatments, this unique approach does not require drugs or surgery. Instead, it relies on high-frequency acoustic waves to open the penis's existing blood vessels, encouraging the growth of new blood vessels while eliminating micro-plaque. To put it simply, GAINSWave® increases blood flow and gives you a chance to reclaim your libido and live life like a man in his prime.

GAINSWave® isn't a sketchy, quick-fix pill found behind the glass at a gas station. It is a comprehensive erectile dysfunction treatment with an incredible 76% success rate. With virtually no side effects, it's no wonder that men throughout the Carolinas and across the United States trust GAINSWave® to solve their ED and Peyronie's disease problems.

GainsWave Treatment Charleston, SC  Emsella Chair Charleston, SC

How GAINSWave® Works

It might sound like GAINSWave® is too good to be true, but the fact is this kind of erectile dysfunction treatment in Charleston, SC uses scientifically-backed, time-tested technologies and applications to improve male sexual performance. Technically referred to as Low-Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (LI-ESWT), our GAINSWave® procedure goes right to the crux of the issue. Low-intensity sound waves break up plaque formation in your penis while stimulating new blood vessel growth. These new blood vessels help get more blood to your penis, ultimately improving your ability to perform. This incredible treatment not only increases blood flow - it also causes new nerve tissues to grow, making your penis more sensitive and easily stimulated.

It all happens through a process called neurogenesis, which increases penis sensitivity. What sets GAINSWave® apart from others is the use of low-intensity sound waves to achieve increased blood flow and sensitivity. Because this procedure is completely non-invasive, you won't ever have to worry about expensive insurance claims or unsightly scarring. All you have to worry about is enjoying life like you used to, without having to undergo surgery or putting harmful substances in your body.

Here are some quick facts about Better Life Carolinas GAINSWave® treatments:

  • For most men, you can expect to have between 6 and 12 GAINSWave® sessions
  • Sessions typically take 15 to 20 minutes.
  • GAINSWave® works by releasing growth factors in your penis tissue, which generates new blood vessels.
  • GAINSWave® promotes healthy blood flow by breaking up plaque formation, giving men harder, stronger erections for longer periods of time.
  • GAINSWave® also activates dormant stem cells, which leads to new cell growth in men.

Hidden Risks of Prescription Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

If you have ever wondered why GAINSWave® treatments are so popular with men, the answer is simple. Prescription drugs meant to help ED often come with side effects that can diminish your peace of mind and day-to-day life. While some men swear by the "little blue pill," many guys aren't aware of the hidden risks associated with drugs like Viagra. The following ailments can happen both in the short term and long term:

  • Back Pain
  • Muscle Pain
  • Headaches
  • Vision Loss
  • Rashes
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Hearing Loss
  • Dizziness
  • Upset Stomach
  • Ringing in Ears
  • Fever
 VIVEVE Charleston, SC

If you are having problems with erectile dysfunction, you should understand why it's happening. The primary cause of ED is associated with a lack of blood flow to the penis, making erections difficult to get and maintain. Rather than relying on a prescription pill for a quick fix, many men are using GAINSWave® treatment in Charleston, SC for a natural solution with no ill side effects. ED doesn't have to be your "new normal," and neither does suffering from strange side effects from popping too many "little blue pills."

GAINSWave®, COVID-19, and ED

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the world. Over the last year, millions of Americans have had to change their lifestyles and alter daily routines to better protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus. While COVID-19 causes a litany of negative side effects, new research shows that men who contract the virus can triple their risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Because the human body is unfamiliar with this kind of virus, it responds by sending a large immune response. During this process, the body uses massive amounts of chemicals to eliminate the virus, causing horrible collateral damage in the form of cell destruction and inflammation.

 Shockwave Therapy Charleston, SC

Contracting COVID-19 and suffering from ED at the same time might sound like a death sentence. However, if you are a man experiencing ED during or after contracting the COVID-19 virus, don't lose hope.

Clinical trials have shown that shockwave therapy, better known as GAINSWave®, has been shown to lower inflammation and boost vascularity by creating angiogenesis and improving endothelial function. Simply put, GAINSWave® treatments can help reverse symptoms of ED brought on by COVID-19. To learn more about how GAINSWave® can help you get back to a normal sex life after developing COVID-19, we recommend contacting our office today.

GAINSWave®: A Natural, Non-Invasive Treatment for Peyronie's Disease

Though Peyronie's Disease affects about 9% of men, it is a little-known disease that can cause physical and aesthetic issues. It is characterized by fibrous scar tissue, which forms underneath the surface of a man's penis. When this disease is left untreated or treated improperly, it can be very difficult for men to have a normal erection. This is because Peyronie's Disease can cause painful curvatures in the penis, making it nearly impossible for afflicted men to have sexual intercourse at all.

The cause of Peyronie's Disease is currently unknown. However, most cases stem from physical trauma like acute injuries after vigorous sex. Other causes include prostate surgery, autoimmune disorders, and family history. Unfortunately, traditional treatment options range from a "wait and see" approach to prescription drugs and even surgery.

Symptoms and signs of Peyronie's Disease include:

  • Erectile Dysfunction: Men with this disease may have problems achieving or maintaining erections.
  • Misshapen Penis: Some men with this disease suffer from a narrowing of the penis when erect, resembling an hourglass shape.
  • Notable Bend in Penis: One of the most common symptoms of Peyronie's Disease includes significant penis curvature, which is defined by a severe and unnatural bend.
  • Scar Tissue: A common symptom of this disease is bands of tissue or hard lumps underneath the skin of the penis.
  • Shortened Penis: Some men with this disease have reported a reduction in penis length.
  • Pain in Penis: Peyronie's has the potential to cause pain in a man's penis, regardless of whether he has an erection or not.
 Hormone Replacement Therapy Charleston, SC

Fortunately, for men who are looking for a non-invasive, natural erectile dysfunction treatment in Charleston, SC GAINSWave® is the answer. Using low-strength soundwaves or shockwaves, GAINSWave® treatment in Charleston breaks down scar tissue affecting your penis, helps create new blood vessels, and opens up existing ones. As a result, blood flow is increased, which minimizes penis curvature and fixes the problems associated with erectile dysfunction.

P-Shot® Erectile Dysfunction Treatment in Charleston, SC

Most guys will tell you that their penis is the most important part of their body. While that is not totally true from a physiological perspective, we get where they're coming from - after all, a man's penis plays a big role in his personal life and overall wellbeing. When a man has problems achieving and maintaining an erection, his quality of life can suffer dramatically, resulting in lower self-esteem and even depression. If you are a man and suffering from ED or Peyronie's Disease, you can rest easy knowing help is only a phone call away.

 Testosterone Replacement Therapy Charleston, SC

In addition to GAINSWave® treatments, Better Life Carolinas also offers the Priapus Shot or P-Shot® for short. Originally used to treat wounds and sports injuries, our P-Shot® is an all-natural treatment that fortifies your body through cellular repair and rejuvenation. P-Shot® treatments have shown very promising results for men who have suffered from prostate cancer, enlarged prostates, the side effects of surgery, drug side effects from prescription pain killers, and even diabetes.

You might be asking yourself, "How does the P-Shot® work?"

This ED solution works by using platelet-rich plasma or PRP from your own body. The proteins and growth factors released by the large number of platelets activate your stem cells, which begins cellular regeneration and repair wherever the PRP are used in your body. Tissue repair in your penis is further aided by the formation of new blood vessels and collagen production.

In many cases, men who use the P-Shot® to correct erectile dysfunction or the effects of Peyronie's Disease can resume sexual activity a few hours after the treatment is applied.

Benefits of Better Life Carolinas' P-Shot® include:

  • Increased blood flow to the penis
  • Improved stamina during sexual activities
  • Improvement and possible resolution of penile curvature issues caused by Peyronie's Disease
  • Increased penis sensitivity
  • Improvements to penis girth and length

For more information about the Priapus Shot or to find out if this treatment is right for you, schedule your free consultation today.

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Latest News in Charleston, SC

‘Flying blind’: Some COVID-19 monitoring not done in Charleston, other parts of SC

One way the state monitors community transmission of COVID-19 has not been done in Charleston and some other areas of South Carolina for more than two months.At least one scientist who tracks COVID-19 locally said they are ’flying blind” without widespread testing and wastewater surveillance to look for the virus and provide a key indicator of how much is circulating. The Charleston area may actually be in the midst of another surge based on modeling of what data is available, said Dr. Michael Sweat of Medical University o...

One way the state monitors community transmission of COVID-19 has not been done in Charleston and some other areas of South Carolina for more than two months.

At least one scientist who tracks COVID-19 locally said they are ’flying blind” without widespread testing and wastewater surveillance to look for the virus and provide a key indicator of how much is circulating. The Charleston area may actually be in the midst of another surge based on modeling of what data is available, said Dr. Michael Sweat of Medical University of South Carolina. A Clemson University scientist is urging caution as well.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said it is working to take over wastewater surveillance testing for the virus from a lab at the University of South Carolina, which has been reporting those results to the National Wastewater Surveillance System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It has been some time, I think, since USC submitted samples to the CDC for reporting out,” Dr. Linda Bell, the state epidemiologist, acknowledged.

A spokesman for USC did not return calls seeking comment.

Wastewater surveillance can pick up trends in virus levels shed in human waste from people who may not have symptoms yet four to six days before it is likely to be picked up by clinical testing, so it can provide an early warning of outbreaks, according to the CDC. It is meant as a complement to other surveillance, but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky praised the testing this year for providing an early signal of outbreaks beginning in the Northeast.

Wastewater treatment plants regularly pull samples for other testing, so it is a matter of taking part of that sample and shipping it off for testing. The labs carefully handle and filter the samples to get something that can be subjected to the same diagnostic testing as patients, said Dr. Delphine Dean, director of the Clemson Research and Education in Disease Diagnosis and Intervention (REDDI) Lab. Bell said it is a recent addition to surveillance but it has value.

“The concept, that wastewater surveillance can be a big benefit to early detection of transmission in a community that does not rely on somebody having to to go a healthcare facility to be tested, it does have really significant attributes in that way,” she said.

According to the CDC’s data, Charleston has not had its wastewater checked for COVID-19 since at least April 7. The same goes for Darlington and Lexington counties, while Richland, Horry, Georgetown and some other areas of the state have not been monitored since around mid-May.

In almost every case, the virus levels were rising when last checked. The only current data is coming from monitoring done at Clemson for Anderson, Greenville, Greenwood and Pickens counties. There, “it is kind of steadily increasing week to week,” Dean said. It is not the explosion of cases seen in some previous surges, with the delta and early omicron variants, but it is rising, she said.

That may also be true for the Charleston area, said Sweat, director of the MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project. In its monitoring of Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties, cases per day per 100,000 population increased 10 percent this past week, from 31 to 34, Sweat said.

Recent modeling by Johns Hopkins University and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation suggest that only about 10 percent of actual COVID-19 cases are being picked up by testing due in part to a large amount of home tests. Even using a conservative sixfold multiplier would put the actual cases in the community at 204 per 100,000, or about where cases were during the onslaught of the delta variant last fall, Sweat said.

“We’re in a surge, it’s pretty obvious,” he said. “I think there is a lot of transmission, and it is continuing to go up. Because of vaccination and prior infection, we’re not seeing the same numbers hospitalized and dying” due to better protection against severe disease. That is validated by internal numbers: MUSC closely tracks its own staff who come down with COVID-19 and those numbers are approaching what they were during the delta surge, Sweat said.

Wastewater surveillance would provide a better window into how much virus is actually circulating in the community, he said.

“Having wastewater would be really valuable; there is consensus in the field about that,” Sweat said. When the state stopped widespread testing in favor of home tests, “the value of the case reporting diminished because we were getting vast undercounts. That kind of left us in that flying-blind mode,” he said. Wastewater surveillance for the virus was supposed to help alleviate that, but the area is without it, Sweat said.

“We need it,” he said. “I think it would be valuable to see that.”

It is one reason DHEC is trying to do the testing itself. After meetings over the past week, the DHEC Public Health Laboratory is now working to validate its testing as it prepares to take over the wastewater surveillance, the agency said in a statement to the Post and Courier. That process may continue all summer, DHEC Media Relations Director Ron Aiken said.

But even without it, the state is reporting many other good metrics, such as cases per 100,000 population and hospitalizations, that allow people to know what is happening with COVID-19 in their communities, Bell said.

“We do encourage people to continue to look at the traditional surveillance systems,” Bell said.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, in a White House COVID-19 briefing on June 9, also encouraged people to maintain vigilance. “We are not done with the pandemic,” he said. “The virus is still here.”

Clemson was monitoring virus levels in its wastewater on campus and also closely tracking how many people tested positive on campus so it could validate how valuable the wastewater data was in predicting infections, Dean said.

“It allowed us to build pretty good estimates on how the wastewater relates to total case counts,” she said. Its data allows Dean to estimate that 1-1.5 percent of the population is infected in the areas they monitor. It translates into an elevated level of risk, Dean said.

“That means if you are going to be in an indoor setting with a larger group of people, you’re pretty likely to have someone in there who has COVID, so you should take precautions,” she said.

Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR expanding operations in Charleston County

COLUMBIA, S.C. – ...

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR (Golfbreaks), a leading, worldwide golf vacation specialist, today announced plans to expand operations in Charleston County. The company’s expansion will create 32 new jobs in the next two years.

Founded in 1998 in the United Kingdom, Golfbreaks specializes in organizing golf trips throughout the United States (U.S.) and around the world. As the ‘Official Golf Vacation Partner’ of the PGA TOUR, the company offers golfers a top-class, hassle-free service by arranging tee times, accommodations, ground transportation, tournament tickets and much more.

Located at 474 Wando Park Blvd. in Mount Pleasant since 2016, Golfbreaks’ Charleston County operation serves as its North American office and was recruited through the state’s Landing Pad program. The company’s expansion will allow Golfbreaks to increase its service volume to U.S. and Canadian golfers who take trips domestically and overseas.

Individuals interested in joining the Golfbreaks team should visit the company’s careers page or email resumes to the company.

QUOTES

“With minimal travel restrictions now in place and a lot of pent-up demand, Golfbreaks is growing rapidly. If you like golf and enjoy delivering unforgettable memories to fellow travelers, then a career at Golfbreaks may be perfect for you. Our enthusiastic and vibrant team in Mount Pleasant is on a very exciting journey with our partners at the PGA TOUR.” -Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR CEO Daniel Grave

“South Carolina’s golf industry has seen significant growth in recent years, and today’s announcement by Golfbreaks shows that this momentum is not slowing down. I congratulate Golfbreaks on their expansion and look forward to their continued growth in South Carolina.” -Gov. Henry McMaster

“Golfbreaks’ expansion in Charleston County is a hole-in-one for our state’s golfing industry and the local community. A worldwide leader in their field, we look forward to many more years of a successful partnership with Golfbreaks.” -Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III

“We are thrilled with Golfbreaks’ decision to invest further in our community and create 32 new jobs for our citizens. Charleston County is a natural fit as we have a passion for golf and more importantly, we have a desire to foster business growth.” -Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor

Charleston Seeks New Solution to Unsold Farmers Market Food

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Vendors at Charleston’s city-run farmers markets used to be able to donate unsold food and produce to a nonprofit that distributed it to those in need.But after the markets returned from a COVID-19 hiatus, the organization has lost too much manpower both in volunteers and staff to continue providing the service.City leaders are trying to find new options to keep thousands of pounds of food from the Marion Square and West Ashley markets from going to waste.“Just in 2019 I believe ...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Vendors at Charleston’s city-run farmers markets used to be able to donate unsold food and produce to a nonprofit that distributed it to those in need.

But after the markets returned from a COVID-19 hiatus, the organization has lost too much manpower both in volunteers and staff to continue providing the service.

City leaders are trying to find new options to keep thousands of pounds of food from the Marion Square and West Ashley markets from going to waste.

“Just in 2019 I believe the amount of food collected was between 4(thousand) to 6,000 pounds from Marion Square alone,” said Charleston Farmers Market Manager Harrison Chapman. “It makes a huge impact.”

Over the ten years that Chapman has served in his role the collection service has been available to vendors. A group of about ten to fifteen volunteers across the two markets would give out crates about 30 to 45 minutes before closing. Any produce that was still in good condition but too old to make it to the next week’s market would get donated.

It was then distributed to senior homes, the Lowcountry Food Bank and other similar organizations.

Chapman said he is in talks with the previous provider as well as other nonprofits to find ways to provide the collection service but so far has not been able to find a group with enough capacity.

Charleston Director of Sustainability Katie McKain is working on another solution. In April, her office applied for a grant to pay the city to set up a compost service at the farmers markets. The city will find out by the end of July if the funding is approved.

“It takes the pressure off vendors to take home their food scraps if they don’t have a way to repurpose them,” she said. “When food gets put in a landfill it gets trapped and without air to help it decompose naturally, it creates methane.”

McKain said she is still determining whether the program would work best with a series of bins for anyone to use on site or by smaller bins provided to each vendor.

More open collection spots would probably need to be accompanied by paid staff to educate the public on what items can properly be disposed of in the bins, she said.

If awarded the funding, the city would get the collection service up and running by the fall, she said.

The city is currently operating a pilot compost program for residents. Those who participate take an online course about composting and when approved, receive an access code for two bins set up in local parks. McKain hopes the program will receive permanent funding in next year’s budget.

In the meantime, Chapman is making an open call for volunteers and nonprofits interested in helping the market. He can be reached at farmersmarket@charleston-sc.gov.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

High turnout rates during first year of early voting in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Just six days before the primary election day, Charleston and Berkeley County have some of the highest turnout numbers in the state during the first year of early voting.In both counties, people were flooding in and out casting their votes by the minute. Hanahan Library is one of three polling locations in Berkeley County that’s seeing a steady increase in voters day by day.“Berkeley County is getting good percentage coming out early,” Doreen Thompson, one of the polling managers at H...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Just six days before the primary election day, Charleston and Berkeley County have some of the highest turnout numbers in the state during the first year of early voting.

In both counties, people were flooding in and out casting their votes by the minute. Hanahan Library is one of three polling locations in Berkeley County that’s seeing a steady increase in voters day by day.

“Berkeley County is getting good percentage coming out early,” Doreen Thompson, one of the polling managers at Hanahan Library, said. “I can’t say overall how the percentage is, but for this area that we’re working right now, we’re getting fairly well.”

Records show that around 3 million people were registered to vote in 2020, but only about 22% of those people voted.

Isaac Cramer, the director of the Charleston County Board of Elections, is one of the main people in charge of making this happen.

“With our equipment and our poll managers and our training and our recruitment, we’re expecting a high turnout,” Cramer said. “Reality will probably be about that 20% number, but we are expecting a high turnout if that happens, so voters don’t have a long wait as they head into the polls.”

As of now, Charleston County has the fourth-highest number of early voters in the state. In 2018, only 1,700 people cast their votes in the first 30 days using in-person absentee voting. This year, the numbers have doubled to 3,600 in the first six days using early voting.

“Our intent with every election is to find access for every voter,” Cramer said. “So, Charleston, we’ve always led the state in ballots casts ahead of election day. We were actually the model for this legislation with the off-site early voting locations, but with the tight window of time between legislation passing and early voting starting, we weren’t able to expand to multiple locations across the county. But in November, we will have seven locations for early voting. So, we do anticipate this county to lead the state in early voting as we have had in the past.”

Cramer says that if you have not voted already, please visit scvotes.gov to find your polling location. He says he wants you to be best prepared on June 14.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Restoring vision by recharging cells' batteries

In May, an interdisciplinary MUSC research team won an inaugural Blue Sky Award, which provided $100,000 in funding for its project to restore vision in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by recharging the eye cells’ batteries. The Blue Sky Award was created to encourage high-risk, high-reward research that has the potential to make a profound impact on patient care but is unlikely to attract traditional funding due to the difficulties of the projects.The team is led by ...

In May, an interdisciplinary MUSC research team won an inaugural Blue Sky Award, which provided $100,000 in funding for its project to restore vision in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by recharging the eye cells’ batteries. The Blue Sky Award was created to encourage high-risk, high-reward research that has the potential to make a profound impact on patient care but is unlikely to attract traditional funding due to the difficulties of the projects.

The team is led by Baerbel Rohrer, Ph.D., of the College of Medicine, and Andrew Jakymiw, Ph.D., of the College of Dental Medicine, and included their graduate students Kyrie Wilson and Charles Holjencin. Rohrer is the Endowed Chair of Gene and Pharmaceutical Treatment of Retinal Degenerative Disease. Jakymiw is an expert in developing cell-penetrating peptides for drug delivery.

Together, they intend to tackle a disease that affects more than 10 million Americans: AMD. The disease causes vision to worsen slowly and eventually leads to blindness. Current therapies are inadequate, as they can only lessen the symptoms and aim, at best, to postpone the loss of vision. Existing therapies also require patients to return again and again for treatment.

Team members weren’t satisfied with just slowing down the disease. They wanted to develop a curative therapy that could protect and even restore vision.

“We knew that if we could treat the disease at the root cause, and not just the symptoms, that would be a huge step forward in regenerative medicine,” said Wilson.

At its root, AMD is caused by an insufficient supply of energy to eye cells.

“Every single activity of a cell requires energy,” said Rohrer. “Once you lose that energy, you will lose proper function of the cells. That will eventually lead to disease and vision loss.”

Mitochondria are the batteries that supply energy to cells, and they have their own DNA – mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA – to help them to do that. When their DNA becomes damaged, mitochondria cease to function properly and cannot provide cells with the energy they need.

Over time or because of stress, errors can be introduced into mtDNA as it copies itself. Rohrer likens the process to the game of “telephone.” In the game, a person whispers a word into the ear of another person. That person then whispers the word into the ear of the next person and so on down the line.

“Whatever ends up after five people is probably not the word that you picked to start with,” said Rohrer. “And it’s pretty much the same thing with copying mtDNA.”

Instead of trying to target and fix many copy errors, Rohrer and Wilson wondered whether a better approach would be to prevent the mistakes in the first place. They could do so by providing the mitochondria a new blueprint, or template, for copying their DNA, essentially “resetting” the word in the telephone game.

“You need a new template,” said Wilson. “You need to go back and have the perfect words again and know what you’re trying to say.”

Rohrer and Wilson realized that they would need a vehicle to deliver the template to the mitochondria. It would have to be able to dodge the body’s immune system and be accepted by the mitochondria. They reached out to Jakymiw, who had expertise with small nucleic acid-based drug delivery.

“We had actually never delivered anything that large to that point,” said Jakymiw. “I mean we’re talking about like 16 kilobases, which is a pretty big molecule.”

Although the two laboratories had had initial discussions, it was the announcement of the Blue Sky Award that solidified the collaboration and jump started the project.

“Some outcomes of the preliminary work that has evolved over the last few months suggest that we can potentially deliver this large amount of DNA and target it efficiently enough to restore vision for individuals affected by AMD,” continued Jakymiw.

Jakymiw and Holjencin decorate the surface of the mtDNA with small proteins that carry instructions for the cells and mitochondria on how to take up this newly formed nanoparticle.

“Essentially, we have a delivery mechanism that carries its own instructions for cell delivery,” said Holjencin, who is creating the nanoparticles being used in the project.

“You can also design the small proteins so that they can recognize a particular ‘zip code’ and deliver the cargo to that particular site within the cell,” said Jakymiw.

These small proteins also provide a potential “invisibility cloak” to protect the nanoparticles from the body’s immune system.

To date, the team has shown that the small proteins can package the mtDNA within nanoparticles and deploy it to the struggling mitochondria. They have also shown that it persists there for at least four weeks. In previous studies, mtDNA disappeared after just 48 hours.

“We will eventually end up looking for the presence of mtDNA at probably eight weeks, maybe even out to 16 weeks,” said Wilson.

“And obviously what we would want for humans is that that this translates into many years as opposed to having to repeat these treatments on a regular basis,” said Rohrer.

The hope is that introducing the template would set off a series of events that could lead to restored vision. The mitochondria might share the template with its neighbors, which could, likewise, pass it on. As the quality of mtDNA improves in more and more mitochondria, they could again supply sufficient energy to eye cells, restoring vision.

“This new approach is like a quantum leap. If this were to work, it would just significantly change not just the trajectory of my lab but the trajectory of treatment for AMD,” said Rohrer.

The collaborative biorepository project between MUSC and SCSU is expanding with the hopes of reaching more medically underserved communities.

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