Introduction: Stem cell (SC) research plays a key role in the increasingly promising area of regenerative medicine, with the potential to treat, prevent and cure disease. The following article provides an overview of the basic science and brief summary of major preclinical animal studies and clinical studies pertaining to SC-based research in the field of urology.
Areas covered: A literature review was conducted based on MEDLINE/PubMed searches for English articles using a combination of the following keywords: SC, SC-based therapy (SCT), urology, erectile dysfunction, Peyronie’s disease (PD), bladder dysfunction, urinary incontinence, regeneration technology, tissue engineering, prostate disease and urinary bladder.
Expert opinion: While current evidence is accruing to suggest that SCT showed great promise in animal studies such as in erectile dysfunction, PD and urothelial tissue engineering, and is likely to be effective and has minimal adverse effects as observed in stress urinary incontinence and bladder dysfunction, there are still significant challenges to overcome before wide spread human application. Important issues, such as reliable outcomes, safety risks with genomic or epigenetic changes in the longer term, as well as potential immune reactions and infection risks, need to be identified in more stringent clinical trials.