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

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs