Categorized | Bladder Health, Feature

Stem Cell Injections Better than Collagen Injections in Treating Stress Urinary Incontinence

A new study from Austria has found that injections of stem cells and other cells obtained from a woman’s own body can treat stress urinary incontinence with dramatically better results than conventional collagen injections.

These results mimic those from U.S. research that is underway and might also be long-lasting.

The study appears in The Lancet. The Austrian researchers, led by Hannes Strasser, MD, from the Medical University of Innsbruck, compared the effects of the stem cell injections with conventional injections of collagen in 63 women with stress urinary incontinence.

The team first performed a small muscle biopsy on the upper arms of the 42 women assigned to get stem cell injections.  In the laboratory, the women received myoblasts, a type of muscle stem cell, and fibroblasts, cells which form the structural framework for many body tissues.  According to Strasser, both types of cells have been shown to be effective in reconstructing the lower urinary tract in animal studies.

Then, Strasser’s team injected the cells back into the women’s sphincter and surrounding area using the ultrasound.

Traditional collagen injections, which do not generally have a high success rate for incontinence, were given to the other 21 women. Collagen treatments work by bulking up the area to compress the urethra, helping to hold urine.

After 12 months, 38 of the 42 women given the stem cell and other cell injections were completely continent. The other four showed either slight or substantial improvement. Only two of the 21 who got collagen injections were continent; seven others showed either slight or substantial improvement.

From ultrasound exams after the injections, it could be seen that the thickness of the sphincter had increased 59 percent in the women given cell injections but just nine percent in the collagen-treated group.  Muscle contractibility increased much more in the cell group.  Increases in the sphincter thickness and muscle contractibility are thought to help improve symptoms.  The women who were treated with the injections of cells reported higher quality of life than the women treated with collagen.  No one in the study reported any adverse side effects.

Comments are closed.