News / Health

Pigs’ Bladder Helps Patients' Stem Cells Grow Missing Muscles

Pigs’ Bladder Helps Patients' Stem Cells Grow Missing Musclesi
X
George Putic
August 04, 2014 8:22 PM
The promise that stem cells may someday help regenerate damaged tissue seems to be close to fulfillment. Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine report that some of their severely injured patients grew new muscle tissue with the help of pigs’ bladders. VOA’s George Putic has more
George Putic

The promise that stem cells may someday help regenerate damaged tissue seems to be close to fulfillment. Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine report that some of their severely injured patients grew new muscle tissue with the help of pigs’ bladders.

After a skiing accident in which he lost much of the muscle in his left calf, Nicholas Clark could no longer do many of his regular activities.

“In addition to the muscle loss, I had a lot of nerve loss and blood vessel loss and other tissue loss in that leg. So, it really limited any activity," said Clark.

Skeletal muscles can regenerate after minor injuries with help from physical therapy, but if the loss is greater than 20 percent, the damage becomes permanent, says Doctor Stephen Badylak of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

“You're left with this huge gap that just fills in with scar tissue," said Badylak.

Scientists have long known that stem cells, applied at the point of injury, can actually turn into new muscle cells. But they need some sort of structure - a matrix - to grow on.

Badylak's team created an “extracellular matrix” from a pig’s bladder. They removed all traces of cells from the tissue, so that the recipient’s immune system would not reject it.

“The extracellular matrix is the glue, if you will, that holds all of the cells in our body together," said Badylak.

The matrix is implanted at the injury site, and as it slowly degrades in recipient’s body it releases chemicals that attract stem cells. Physical therapy helps the stem cells understand that they need to form muscle tissue.

All five patients in Badylak's study had lost 60 to 90 percent of the affected muscle. Six months after the start of therapy, all have grown some new muscle, and three patients had dramatic improvement. Clark says he can ride his bike again and even jump rope.

“There are other things, just day to day things, that really make a huge difference," he said.

Scientists say they experimented mostly with old injuries, but that the new method probably works better for patients with more recent injuries.

 

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid