New treatment may cure urinary incontinence


Upton first noticed she was having trouble controlling her bladder in her mid-40s.

"Running, jumping jacks, all those things were really terrible for me," said Upton, who is an exercise enthusiast.

She was one of 64 women picked for a first of its kind study. Dr. Kenneth Peters, chief of urology at Beaumont Hospital, leads the research team that's testing a nonsurgical procedure to help and possibly cure stress urinary incontinence.

"The nice thing about this, it's all office based," Peters said.

At the doctor's office, patients underwent a leg biopsy.

"We would take a little piece of muscle," Peters said.

Cells from that muscle were isolated, and then, over several weeks, grown in the lab and separated into different doses.

The cells were re-injected and helped regenerate muscles that control the bladder. Within six months, the majority of patients saw at least a 50-percent reduction in their incontinence, Peters said.

"Depending on the dose, anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of patients became completely dry," Peters said.

Peters says it appears the higher the dose the better the outcomes. Upton said her problem is about 80 percent better since the procedure. She even decided to do a marathon.

"About mile 19 or so, I was like, I'm so glad I don't have to stop and go to the bathroom," she said with a laugh.

Peters says if incontinence is improved after one treatment but not gone, the cells could possibly be stored and re-injected into patients. He says future trials to test the noninvasive procedure are in the works and could happen within the next year.

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