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Doctors Regrow Muscle in Severe Wounds for First Time

This undated handout photo provided by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center shows Dr. Stephen Badylak, a surgery professor at the university, and deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, holding a sheet of “extracellular matrix,” scaffolding-like material derived from pig bladder.
A team of U.S. doctors are reporting a remarkable medical breakthrough - the regrowth of muscle lost to a traumatic leg injury.

The experiment was paid for by the Pentagon and carried out at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Physicians conducted the test on five men, including wounded U.S. soldiers, who have lost a large amount of leg muscle because of a serious injury.

Muscle does not regrow naturally in a severe wound. The lost muscle is replaced by hard scar tissue that can leave the affected area useless.

The physicians used material taken from pigs to implant what they describe as a scaffold inside the wound. The pig material sent out a chemical signal that attracted free-roaming stem cells to the wound. Those stem cells formed new muscle tissue.

Three of the five patients recovered enough muscle for the scientists to declare the experiment a success, saying they can now hop and squat on the wounded leg.

Details of the study are published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.