Surprisingly, although ejaculated semen is comprised of cells, fluids and other components from several male organs, semen tests have not been developed to help evaluate the health of those organs.
Semen producing organs include the testis, epididymis, seminal vesicles, prostate and urethra. Theoretically, diseases in any one of those organs may be detectable in ejaculated semen specimens. Why semen tests analogous to cervical PAP smears have not been developed is not understood, but it may relate to logistical problems in collecting and delivering a semen specimen to a diagnostic laboratory. The Foundation’s Prostate work seeks to fill this gap.
The Robert C. Eyre Research Fund has been established to support our partner projects with Dr. Robert Eyre. Recognized as a leading urologic surgeon and scholar, Dr. Eyre has a long standing interest in deepening the knowledge base about the etiology, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the genitourinary tract, such as infections (prostatitis, epididymitis, bladder and kidney infections) and cancer (prostate, testicular, kidney, bladder). Funds donated to Dr. Eyre’s fund support the innovative pilot projects required to seek additional funding from sources such as the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Eyre and his research colleagues have a proven track record in expanding innovative pilot research into large, longer term research as well as new modes of clinical practice. Some of the pilot projects currently underway and in need of support are described below.
The research conducted by the Foundation for SPAR led to the development of mail-in kits for collection and stabilization of semen specimens by men in the privacy of their homes. Those specimens could then be shipped to the laboratory for evaluation and detection of the presence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and HIV-infected cells. The methods developed can now be applied to the detection and diagnosis of a wide variety of infectious agents and cellular components. The work is just beginning and the concepts are so new it will be several years before sufficient data can be gathered to support an application for federal funding. Foundation scientists are currently totally dependent upon private donations to keep the work going.