SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The UC Davis Medical Center has the first lab in the country to find stem cells in an adult bladder.

“Stem cells from humans have been turned into almost any other tissue in the body,” said Dr. Eric Kurzrock from the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures.

But Kurzrock says nobody has ever done it with a bladder – and this research, now published in the Stem Cells Translational Medicine scientific journal, could be monumental for science.

“You could potentially use bladder cells that we created to make a new bladder,” Kurzrock said.

This could help children born with spina bifida, and adults with a diseased bladder or bladder cancer.

Before this revelation, a doctor’s only option was to use the intestine to make the bladder larger.

“In this case, we could use an engineered bladder,” Kurzrock said.

It took a team 10 years to publish the project, because – as Kurzrock says – roadblocks are just part of the research process.

“What I’m always telling people in the lab the ‘R’ ‘E’ in research is ‘repeat’ and ‘repeat’,” Kurzrock said.

He notes that tests are still a long way away from being performed on humans. But, the research is a step in the right direction.

“That’s what we look forward to at UC Davis … being able to study something and, hopefully in our lifetime or the next generation, be able to take what we did in the lab and help a patient,” Kurzrock said.

They’re now focusing on writing grants for research funding. It could take a decade or more before the procedure is performed on humans.


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