We noted recently that the injection of cells with a needle through a cystoscope in the urethral sphincter muscle of pigs failed to deposit them nearby or at the intended target position in about 50% of all animals investigated (n > 100). Increasing the chance for precise cell injection by shotgun approaches employing several circumferential injections into the sphincter muscle bears the risk of tissue injury. In this study, we developed and tested a novel needle-free technique to precisely inject cells in the urethral sphincter tissue, or other tissues, using a water-jet system. This system was designed to fit in the working channels of endoscopes and cystoscopes, allowing a wide range of minimally invasive applications. We analyze key features, including the physical parameters of the injector design, pressure ranges applicable for tissue penetration and cell injections and biochemical parameters, such as different compositions of injection media. Our results present settings that enable the high viability of cells post-injection. Lastly, the method is suitable to inject cells in the superficial tissue layer and in deeper layers, required when the submucosa or the sphincter muscle of the urethra is targeted.
Keywords: cell therapy; medical technology; regenerative medicine; stress urinary incontinence; tissue engineering; water-jet technology.