Cell therapy for urinary incontinence. Does it really work?

Anna Bajek, Joanna Olkowska, Piotr Radziszewski, Tomasz Drewa
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is the most common form of urinary incontinence, a condition that affects approximately two hundred million people worldwide, significantly reduces the quality of life and exacerbates co-morbidities. The causes of stress urinary incontinence are urethral hypermobility, intrinsic sphincter deficiency, or both. There are different ways of treatment of SUI, inter alia: a gold standard procedure-retropubic repair or urethral sling placement. In selected cases the
more » ... elected cases the injection of bulking agents or installation of an artificial sphincter are performed. These methods have advantages as well as disadvantages. That is why the new ways of treatment are sought. Newly emerging technologies in tissue engineering may provide novel methods for the treatment of SUI. The deficiencies of urethral muscle and connective tissue can be regenerate by stem-cell therapy, which is currently at the forefront of incontinence research. The stem-cell therapy is very important in a way of replacing, regenerating, or enhancing the biological function of damaged tissue or organs. The choice of stem cell source is determined by ease of harvest, population density and differentiation potential. Results of in vivo experiments as well as clinical application of injecting stem cells are promising but also have some limitations.