Stem cells from fat and the management of post-surgical incontinence


Credit where credit is due. … Our friends at The Daily Mail in England have actually come up with some prostate cancer-related news worth passing on!

According to this article in The Daily News on Monday, pilot studies in Japan and elsewhere are looking at taking samples of abdominal fat (which are high in stem cells) and injecting stem cell extracts into the urinary tracts of selected men who have stress incontinence after surgery for prostate cancer. Apparently such techniques may be able to reduce incontinence-related leakage in some 60 percent of patients. Furthermore, results can often be observed within a few days of treatment.

In the initial, pilot study, at the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, 250 ml of abdominal fat tissue was extracted by liposuction. Stem cells were then isolated and injected into the urethral sphincters of 11 patients with stress incontinence, who were treated and followed up for > 1 year. Improvements in symptoms were evident in most patients within a week of their initial treatment, and over the next 12 months 8/11 patients’ symptoms had improved, with an average 59.8 percent drop in leakage volume. One patient is said to have had complete resolution of his incontinence.

Specialized stem cell treatment facilities in America already appear to be offering this type of “investigational” treatment to selected patients. However, The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink wishes to be very clear that data on the effectiveness and safety of this type of treatment are very limited at this time. The use of stem cell therapy in this way has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; health insurance companies are unlikely to be willing to cover the costs of such treatment as yet; and so patients should exercise a great deal of caution and limit their expectations about what may actually be possible.

On the other hand, if these pilot data can be replicated in larger studies, this technique appears to offer a potentially effective and relatively safe method for the treatment of at least some cases of post-surgical incontinence.

6 Responses

  1. I saw this amazing news blurb last year. This is an apparently legitimate report of a guy whose spinal cord was completely severed in a knife attack. Using stem cells from his own nose, and some scaffolding tissue taken from another part of his body, doctors have reconnected his spinal cord and he has regained a fair amount of function that had been lost. I believe this is a first in humans.

  2. I’m in. Where can I sign up? … Anything like this should be further tested quickly.

  3. Chris:

    I have no idea where anyone in the US is doing actual trials, but I will see if I can have a look around in the morning.

  4. Chris:

    Here is a link to the results of a search for “stem cell urinary incontinence” on the ClinicalTrials.gov web site. There appears to be no currently open trial that you could enroll in for male, post-surgical patients. Whether new trials will open in the future, I don’t know.

    Here is a link to one center that is offering to carry out such treatment … but I have no information at all about the skill and expertise of this group of physicians, let alone their success rates.

  5. Makes me wonder if the results would be better with an injection immediately post-surgery, rather than after the problem is well established.

  6. The Japanese government is sponsoring a urinary incontinence clinical trial at the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine using these stem cells provided by Cytori Therapeutics. Cook Myosite has a clinical trial in the U.S. — NCT02291432 — with 30 participants in Michigan and Nashville. The Hospital Universitario La Paz, in Madrid, Spain, has a 10-patient clinical trial going on. All are using stem cells to [try to alleviate or] cure urinary incontinence after a prostatectomy.

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