Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

Adult Stem Cells Used To Cure Urinary Incontinence

Monday, May 22, 2006 - Stem Cell Guru

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel yesterday carried an interesting story on a new type of adult stem cell treatment which is being pioneered in Austria.

Doctors say they were able to cure urinary incontinence in the vast majority of patients who were treated with injections of their own stem cells. The research has the potential to help over 15 million Americans who suffer from this troublng condition.

The researchers described the treatment as a cure, meaning the patients did not need to wear pads after they were treated. "It's highly effective and it's much more effective than we previously thought," said lead author Hannes Strasser. "If somebody had told me it would have worked so well four years ago, I would not have believed it."

Some of the first patients to undergo the technique remained continent four years after the treatment, said Strasser, an Associate Professor of Urology at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria.

In addition to curing the incontinence, the patients also had a dramatically improved quality of life, he said.

The treatment involves harvesting muscle cells taken as biopsy from the patient's upper arm. Those cells are grown in a laboratory for seven weeks and a small amount of collagen is mixed in. What is not known is whether the new cells become functioning muscle, as is theorized, or whether the injections are just providing bulk, as is the case with other treatments.

The extracted cells become both 'myoblasts', or muscle cells, and 'fibroblasts', a type of connective tissue cell. The fibroblasts are injected into the urethra, the canal that carries urine out of the bladder. The myoblasts are injected into the rhabdosphincter, a ring of muscle around the urethra that acts as a valve. Imaging shows that the thickness of the urethra and rhabdosphincter were increased and the contracting ability of the rhabdosphincter was improved.

The cure rate cited by researchers of more than 80 percent is about twice that for other injectable treatments.


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