Scientists are busy studying whether muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs) found in a patient’s arm or leg (autologous) can treat stress urinary incontinence in women. Stem cells can grow into muscle and other types of cells.
In experiments and clinical studies, doctors remove a small amount of leg muscle and send it to a lab where researchers isolate and grow the stem cells. A few weeks later the stem cells are injected back into the patient’s urethra, helping to strengthen bladder control and prevent leakage.
Early results are promising, but much more work needs to be done to know whether this treatment will be effective, if there are any side effects and what are they, how long any benefit from treatment lasts, which patients would be most likely to benefit, and the cost of the treatment.
A 2016 review article on this topic can be viewed at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4737006/
Medial Reviewer: Catherine DuBeau, MD
Dr. DuBeau, MD, is Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts. She has been actively engaged in teaching, management, and research regarding urinary incontinence in older persons for over 15 years. Her research focuses on quality of life impact and patient-centered outcomes. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on urinary incontinence and benign prostate disease. She was a member of the Urinary Incontinence Technical Subgroup of the National Committee for Quality Assurance that developed the Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) regarding urinary incontinence, and chaired the Evaluation Committee for developing the National Association for Continence (NAFC) Blueprint for Continence Care in Assisted Living. Dr. DuBeau has co-chaired the Frail Elderly Committee for the 2004 3rd International Consultation on Incontinence. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, and in 2004 was awarded the AGS/NAFC Continence Care Champion Award. She is a dedicated teacher and lectures nationally and internationally on incontinence.