• Cell Therapy for Anal Sphincter Incontinence: Where Do We Stand?

      Balaphas, Alexandre; Meyer, Jeremy; Meier, Raphael P H; Liot, Emilie; Buchs, Nicolas C; Roche, Bruno; Toso, Christian; Bühler, Leo H; Gonelle-Gispert, Carmen; Ris, Frédéric (MDPI AG, 2021-08-13)
      Anal sphincter incontinence is a chronic disease, which dramatically impairs quality of life and induces high costs for the society. Surgery, considered as the best curative option, shows a disappointing success rate. Stem/progenitor cell therapy is pledging, for anal sphincter incontinence, a substitute to surgery with higher efficacy. However, the published literature is disparate. Our aim was to perform a review on the development of cell therapy for anal sphincter incontinence with critical analyses of its pitfalls. Animal models for anal sphincter incontinence were varied and tried to reproduce distinct clinical situations (acute injury or healed injury with or without surgical reconstruction) but were limited by anatomical considerations. Cell preparations used for treatment, originated, in order of frequency, from skeletal muscle, bone marrow or fat tissue. The characterization of these preparations was often incomplete and stemness not always addressed. Despite a lack of understanding of sphincter healing processes and the exact mechanism of action of cell preparations, this treatment was evaluated in 83 incontinent patients, reporting encouraging results. However, further development is necessary to establish the correct indications, to determine the most-suited cell type, to standardize the cell preparation method and to validate the route and number of cell delivery.