The therapeutic use of stem cells and tissue engineering techniques are emerging in urology. Here, stem cell types, their differentiating potential and fundamental characteristics are illustrated. The cancer stem cell hypothesis is reported with reference to the role played by stem cells in the origin, development and progression of neoplastic lesions. In addition, recent reports of results obtained with stem cells alone or seeded in scaffolds to overcome problems of damaged urinary tract tissue are summarized. Among others, the application of these biotechnologies in urinary bladder, and urethra are delineated. Nevertheless, apart from the ethical concerns raised from the use of embryonic stem cells, a lot of questions need to be solved concerning the biology of stem cells before their widespread use in clinical trials. Further investigation is also required in tissue engineering utilizing animal models.
- stem cells