The McGowan Institute faculty member Dr. Michael Chancellor and colleagues are developing technology involving the use of autologous muscle-derived stem cells for treating urinary incontinence. The successful results of a recent limited clinical study conducted in Canada, through a University of Pittsburgh partnership with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association, May 19-24, 2007, Anaheim, CA.
The study followed 8 women for 1 year. After biopsies of skeletal muscle tissue were taken from the patients, the stem cells were isolated and expanded in culture in the laboratory. The patients then were injected with their own muscle-derived stem cells into the area surrounding the uretha, a procedure done in an outpatient setting.
Through this study, it was learned that the injected stem cells appeared to regenerate the muscles that help people regulate the flow of urine. After 1 year following the initial treatment, 5 of the 8 women reported improvement in bladder control and quality of life with no serious short- or long-term adverse effects.
“This clinical trial is extremely encouraging, given that 13 million people in the United States, most of them women, cope with stress urinary incontinence SUI,” said Dr. Chancellor. “We’re demonstrating for the first time that we may be able to offer people with SUI a long-term and minimally invasive treatment option.”
A multi-center study in Canada and a study in the United States are currently ongoing and will allow researchers to determine the optimal dose of muscle stem cells needed to effectively treat SUI.
Women with SUI involuntarily leak urine during activities that put pressure on the bladder, such as running, coughing, sneezing, or laughing. SUI is caused by childbirth, menopause, or pelvic surgery, and is most often diagnosed in women during middle-age.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
UPMC News Bureau (05/21/07)
USA Today (05/21/07)
Science Daily (05/21/07)
Listen to Dr. Chancellor’s interview about this pioneering research area:
Regenerative Medicine podcast (02/13/07)