Female incontinence patients are successfully being treated with their own stem cells, injected into the patients' urethra and sphincter muscles with the assistance of three-dimensional ultrasound, according to results of a first-of-its-kind study presented at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting in Chicago. The Austrian study involved 20 women ages 36 to 84 with minor to severe stress incontinence. Researchers removed stem cells from a patient's arm, cultured them in a lab for six weeks and then injected them into the patient's urethra and sphincter using ultrasound to determine where to place the new cells. Many patients saw results within 24 hours after the 15- to 20-minute outpatient procedure. One year after the procedure, 18 of the 20 participants remained continent. The cost of the procedure was comparable to two popular treatments and so far has had better results, researchers said.
In other news at RSNA, researchers reported as part of the ongoing International Early Lung Cancer Action Project that they now can predict the risk of lung cancer for smokers, an important milestone for determining who most likely would benefit from CT screening and at what age. The study found that age has as much of an impact on the likelihood of smokers -- even former smokers -- developing lung cancer as the number of years they smoked. Lung cancer develops in twice as many smokers age 50 to 74 as in smokers under age 50. The study, begun in 1993, has accumulated data from screenings of 27,701 men and women at 35 institutions worldwide. -- by Cinda Becker