Curr Stem Cell Res Ther 2018 ;13(6):458-465
Department of Urology, The Austin Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.
Background: The urinary bladder and urethra comprise the lower urinary tracts. Pathological conditions that affect both structures necessitate reconstructive urological intervention with autologous tissue sources that cause neuromechanical and metabolic complications. Stem-cell therapies may offer an attractive alternative as they can replicate important host derived cellular functions such as mitosis, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis.
Objective: To provide an overview on the application of stem cell therapies for regenerating the lower urinary tracts and to discuss factors that need to be addressed before stem-cells can be reliably introduced into clinical urological practice.
Results: Advantages of stem cells in reconstructive urology are their ability to self-renew and their durability. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and adult stem cells (ASCs) demonstrate excellent urological regenerative properties. Repairing defective lower urinary tract structures with various stem-cell derived therapies has been widely reported with encouraging results in vitro and in pre-clinical in vivo trials. Ethical considerations, cost, regulation, manufacturing and reimbursement need to be fully transparent before stem-cells are routinely applied to urological patients. International collaboration with consensus guidelines should be considered to facilitate standards that allow safe use of stem-cell therapies in urology.
Conclusion: Stem cells therapies in urology are developing rapidly with many important achievements to date. Despite promising in vitro and pre-clinical data; implementation of stem cells into daily urological practice is not imminent. Further investigation is required to determine whether stem-cells will provide better clinical outcomes than current urological tissue replacement strategies.