Dieter Bollmann of Berlin, who underwent unsuccessful stem-cell therapy for urinary incontinence, has won a court case against authorities of the University Hospital Innsbruck in Austria. He had claimed that the urologists who treated him had not told him the procedure was experimental.
On 11 July, a civil court awarded Bollmann nearly €3,000 (US$4,800) in damages and expenses. His lawyer is considering claims from several other former patients who were similarly operated on within the past few years.
The therapy involves generating muscle stem cells from a biopsy taken from a patient's arm, then injecting them into the same patient's urinary sphincter in an attempt to boost its contractile power. The urologists are also involved in an independent dispute with their local ethics committee, which claims they carried out clinical trials — one of which was published in The Lancet — without ethics approval (see Nature 453, 6–7 and 1177 ; 2008).