Margot S. Damaser, Ph.D.
Pelvic floor disorders include urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. They are prevalent among the elderly, particularly among older women who have delivered children vaginally. Regenerative medicine and tissue engineering have great potential for treating pelvic floor disorders. Much has been made of the potential for stem cells, in particular, to permanently regenerate injured and atrophied tissues (the hype), leading to great hope for a cure. However, results have been disappointing. Translating results from animal models to successful clinical trials is particularly difficult in regenerative medicine since humans are unique in their poor regenerative capacity as they tend more toward scarring than regeneration after injury. Sarring prevents regeneration, as well as vascularization and innervation of the newly regenerated or tissue engineered structures or organs. In this talk, I will summarize the hope and hype of regenerative medicine for pelvic floor disorders. I will also discuss possible regenerative solutions to the challenging situation of regeneration for pelvic floor disorders with examples from our research.