Adult Stem Cell Research Successfully Treats Urinary Problems

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 1, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 1, 2005

Pittsburgh, PA ( — Adult stem cell research continues to have success as researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have been able to use stem cells found in muscle tissue to cure stress urinary incontinence in animals. The findings suggest the treatments will successfully treat people with similar problems.

In the study, the Pittsburgh researchers, led by Michael Chancellor, M.D., injected the human muscle-derived stem cells into the periurethral muscle of a well-established animal model for stress urinary incontinence.

After four weeks, the models’ leak-point pressure, the pressure at which urine would leak from the bladder, had been restored to normal levels.

"In past studies we have shown that muscle-derived cells from rats have been able to restore deficient muscle in the bladder," Dr. Chancellor, professor of urology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said.

"Using human muscle-derived cells was the next step in bringing this therapy to humans," he added.

Researchers believe that the human muscle-derived cells were able to restore leak-point pressure to normal levels by differentiating into new muscle fibers, which prevented periurethral muscle atrophy. They will be returning to the lab to identify exactly how these cells work to regenerate muscle.

Clinical trials using muscle-derived cell therapy for incontinence have recently begun in Toronto.

Urinary incontinence affects 13 million Americans. Those with stress urinary incontinence involuntarily lose urine while doing activities that put stress on the abdomen, such as laughing, sneezing, coughing, lifting or walking

The typical cause is childbirth, menopause or pelvic surgery.

The Pitt researchers will present their findings at the annual meeting of the International Continence Society Aug. 29 through Sept. 2 in Montreal.

Related web sites:
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center –