Objectives: This review focuses on advances in regenerative therapies using stem cells in urology.
Methods: A detailed literature search was performed using the PubMed database of the National Center of Biotechnology Information. Publications of experimental investigations and clinical trials using stem cells in reconstructive urology have been summarized and critically reviewed.
Results: Tissue engineering and autologous cell therapy techniques have been developed to generate prostheses for different urological tissues and organ systems. During the last decade, increasing numbers of studies have described stem cells in the context of therapeutic tools. The ability of adult and embryonic stem cells as well as progenitors to improve bladder wall architecture, improve renal tubule formation, or promote restoration of spermatogenesis or recovery of continence has been investigated in several animal models. Although results have been encouraging, only a myoblast-based therapy of incontinence has reached clinical trials.
Conclusions: Several populations of adult stem cells and progenitor cells have been studied as useful cellular sources in the treatment and reconstruction of urological organs. However, considerable basic research still needs to be performed to ensure the controlled differentiation and long-term fate of stem cells following transplantation.