"This newly described bladder augmentation model represents a unique insight into the bladder regeneration process and provides strong evidence that MSCs can be exploited for tissue engineering purposes," Sharma says. "The non-human primate bladder augmentation model established in this study will also further provide key pre-clinical data that may eventually be translated in a clinical setting."
So, how soon could we see this research "translated in a clinical setting?"
"It depends on the setting in which the process is to be utilized," said in an interview. "There are situations in which partial bladder removal occurs, as in the case of spina bifida patients demonstrating a neurogenic bladder." Depending upon the severity of the disease, he explains a portion of the bladder is removed and restructured with bowel to increase physiological function and relieve internal pressure on the kidneys. "That surgical procedure has many drawbacks, and long- and short-term side effects."
In setting such as the one he described, he believes their methodology could be applied within the next several years, he tells HealthLeaders. "The take home message for clinicians would be to think about alternative regenerative medicine based strategies for their patients in the context of our study."
But it?s still very early, he cautions. "The results of our work are preliminary and much work is needed to accomplish this feat."
And whole-bladder replacement is even further away. "I believe that is many, many years away due to the complexity of the organ and the means in which it can be currently regenerated."