Regenerative medicine ‘improves muscle strength in leg injuries’

1 May 2014

Damaged leg muscles can become stronger and function can be improved through a regenerative approach to medicine, according to the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences.

Senior researcher Stephen F. Badyla explained that when a large amount of muscle is lost the body is unable to respond and replace it sufficiently. Scar tissue is then formed, which drastically reduces strength and function.

Scientists surgically implanted extracellular matrix (ECM) derived from pig bladder, into the injured person’s leg. ECM has been used for many years to repair hernias and treat skin ulcers.

The five participants were unable to walk prior to the procedure as they had lost at least 25 per cent of the muscle in their leg

Three of the men were 20 per cent stronger six months after the surgery. Results for the other patients were not as dramatic, but improved on at least one functional measure.

J. Peter Rubin, lead surgeon, said: "This work represents an important step forward in our ability to repair tissues and improve function with materials derived from natural proteins. There will be more options to help our patients."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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