Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh transplanted “a quilt of matrix cells” derived from pig bladders into 5 men with partially destroyed muscles. In these men, the matrix, defined as the glue holding cells in tissues together, needed “a healing boost” despite the medicine and physical therapy treatment they were receiving. This pig matrix triggered muscle cell growth, instead of scar tissue. One man considering leg amputation after 30 unsuccessful surgeries before participating in the experiment now rides bikes. In a smaller, but still positive result, one man no longer limps or walks with a cane.
Two of the 5 men saw only a slight benefit from the treatment, and results need to be confirmed and improved. However, an expert in the field states this small study is proof that the treatment can not only save existing muscle but can cause regeneration.
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To read the Science Translational Medicine abstract, click here.