Chen awarded grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine

School of Medicine researcher BERTHA CHEN, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, has been awarded $5.98 million by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to investigate ways of using a person’s own stem cells to treat urinary incontinence.

Bertha Chen
Bertha Chen

The award was one of four recently given out by the state stem cell agency as part of its Translation Research Program, which aims to help move promising stem cell research out of the laboratory and into the clinic.

Urinary incontinence affects about 30 percent of adult women ages 30 to 60 and is one of the most common indications for surgery in elderly women. However, as many as one-third of the women either cannot undergo surgery or will not benefit from surgery. The condition can have a significant impact on quality of life.

Chen and her team are exploring ways to use stem cells to generate the smooth muscle cells in the urinary tract that are lost in a person with urinary incontinence. If the approach works, it could also lead to new ways to treat other urinary or digestive problems caused by a loss of smooth muscle.

Read this article and more on the School of Medicine website.