Builder Cells to Boost Body Function
Stem cell injections are being researched and tested as an alternative solution to many different types of ailments – from arthritis to heart troubles to vision impairment. The idea is that these ‘builder cells’ are taken from other parts of a person’s body, such as bone marrow, fat or skin, and injected into the location that needs repair. The stem cells, which are unspecialized cells, can then start reproducing themselves to replenish other cells or possibly even take on the specialization of cells in the damaged area.
Stem Cells for Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is one area that’s being looked at by scientists who think stem cells might be the solution. When a person can hold their urine in, they have a healthy, functioning sphincter, which is the muscle that controls the opening and closing of the urinary tract. If this muscle is strong and flexible, the person will have no accidental leaks or embarrassing ‘I just peed’ stories to share. As we age or suffer trama (such as childbirth), this muscle can weaken and cells die, so that the opening & closing of the urinary tract is harder to control. The result? You might leak.
Scientists and gynecologists are looking at stem cell injections as a way to help rebuild the weakened muscle. They’re trying to regenerate the muscle cells – essentially adding reinforcements to a weakened team. This would strengthen the muscle so it could do it’s job properly. As reported last year, the team of Bertha Chen and Renee Reijo-Pera, a uro-gynecologist and a stem-cell researcher, are studying this method (the Pera-Chen method) on a research grant from the California stem cell institute. Also, a research team at the Cleveland Clinic is currently conducting trials to see if stem cells can improve urinary incontinence symptoms. Their early results have been promising, showing that after a single injection into the urethra, over two-thirds of women improved by more than 50 percent.
The idea of stem cell therapy is still in experimental phases so any would-be clients need to be aware of risks in the treatment. Taking cells from one part of your body and putting those same cells somewhere else in your body is currently unregulated. Some healthcare clinics are offering unproven treatments that could have disastrous outcomes. However, there are many success stories about the use of stem cells in treatments. Perhaps stem cell therapy will be part of the continence puzzle in the long run.