News / Science & Technology

New Treatment Regenerates Muscle Lost in Traumatic Injury

FILE - Sgt. Matt Krumwiede of the U.S. Army (L) talks to his friend Sgt. Jesse McCart at a hunting ranch outside San Antonio, Texas, November 2013.
FILE - Sgt. Matt Krumwiede of the U.S. Army (L) talks to his friend Sgt. Jesse McCart at a hunting ranch outside San Antonio, Texas, November 2013.
Reuters
U.S. doctors said on Wednesday they have succeeded in coaxing the regeneration of muscle tissue lost in people who suffered traumatic injuries, including wartime bomb wounds, with a new type of treatment that uses material from a pig's bladder.

Implanting the pig material at the wound site enticed the patient's own stem cells -- master cells that can transform into various kinds of cells in the body -- to become muscle cells and regenerate tissue that had been lost, the researchers said.

The study was small, involving only five male patients, but its results suggested that this procedure could offer new hope to a category of patients, including troops who suffered major war injuries, with scant good treatment options, they added.

All five patients, including two U.S. soldiers hurt by bombs planted by insurgents, had badly damaged leg muscles.

The research was backed by $3 million in funding over five years from the U.S. Defense Department, said Dr. Stephen Badylak of the University of Pittsburgh, who led the study.

Thousands of American troops have been left with serious physical impairments after sustaining wounds involving major loss of muscle tissue in roadside bombings and other incidents since 2001 in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When a large amount of muscle is lost in vehicle crashes, industrial accidents, bomb blasts or other traumas, the body is unable to replace it and the site forms scar tissue that lacks the functionality of the lost muscle.

Existing treatments include surgery to remove scar tissue or replace it with muscle from somewhere else in the body, but these methods do not yield satisfying results and are hard on patients, the researchers said.

"Nothing has ever worked. There's been multiple things tried: the hype and the hope of stem cell therapy, new surgical techniques," said Badylak.

This study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, demonstrated for the first time the regeneration of functional muscle tissue in people with major muscle loss.

"While the number of patients was small, we were very encouraged by the data. And we were seeing very dramatic improvements in quality of life for some of our patients," added Dr. J. Peter Rubin of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, another of the researchers.

The doctors implanted material from a pig's urinary bladder called "extracellular matrix" - the non-cellular component including collagen present within all tissues and organs - to serve as scaffolding for the rebuilding of lost muscle mass.

This material acted as a "homing device" to recruit existing stem cells in the body to rebuild healthy muscle tissue at the site of the injury, the researchers said.

Pig parts have been used for years in surgical procedures. Pig bladder "extracellular matrix" has been used in hernia repair and fixing chest wall defects after cancer removal. Before trying the procedure in people, the researchers said they successfully tested it in mice with muscle injuries.

Wartime injuries

To take part in the study, the five men had to have lost at least 25 percent of leg muscle volume and function at least six months earlier and then completed physical therapy for three to six months until their function and strength no longer improved.

The doctors then implanted the pig material and directed the men to resume physical therapy for up to six more months. Biopsies and scans confirmed that muscle growth had taken place.

The patients hurt by bomb blasts were a 27-year-old who lost 83 percent of his thigh muscle and had undergone 50 previous surgical operations, and a 28-year-old who lost 68 percent of his thigh muscle and had 14 previous operations.

The other three men had calf injuries, including one who also came from the military but was hurt while exercising and not in combat, and two civilians with severe skiing injuries.

"Frankly, most of these patients have been through hell. These are serious injuries," Badylak said. "In fact, one or two of the patients even considered amputation at one point because they've just been through so much."

Three of them, including both soldiers hurt by bombs, were measured six months after the implantation operation as stronger in five categories by at least 20 percent - and often by far more than that. The other two men also showed broad improvement but not in all five measures, the researchers said.

Badylak said four additional patients, including one woman, have since undergone the procedure with good results.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More