Researchers from the Medical University of Innsbruck in Austria are calling the treatment using the patient's own stem cells a cure for incontinence. Researchers extracted muscle stem cells from the patient's upper arm. The adult stem cells were cultured with collagen and grown in the lab for seven weeks where they differentiated into pre-muscle cells and connective tissue. The cells were then injected into the patient's urethra and rhabdosphincter muscle. By using the patient's own stem cells there is no tissue rejection issues, because the cells are biocompatible. Out of 186 men and women in the study, 153 did not need pads after one year following the treatment.
Incontinence affects more than 15 million Americans. In the near future this stem cell treatment could not only improve the quality of life for those affected, but lessen hospital and nursing home stays. The savings of health care dollars could be substantial.
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