Sunday, May 3, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Experiment grows new muscle in men’s injured legs

By
From page A9 | May 04, 2014 |

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists implanted thin sheets of scaffolding-like material from pigs into a few young men with disabling leg injuries — and say the experimental treatment coaxed the men’s own stem cells to regrow new muscle.

The research, funded by the Defense Department, included just five patients, a small first step in the complex quest for regenerative medicine.

But the researchers described some of the men improving enough to no longer need canes, or to ride a bicycle again, after years of living with injuries that today have no good treatment.

“The real rush for someone like myself is to see this patient being able to do these things and not struggle and have a smile on his face,” said Dr. Stephen Badylak of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He led the study, which was reported Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Muscles have some natural ability to regenerate after small injuries. But if too much is lost — from a car accident, a sports injury or, for soldiers, a bomb blast — the body can’t heal properly. Hard scar tissue fills the gap instead. Called volumetric muscle loss, a severe enough injury can leave an arm or leg essentially useless.

The new experiment combines bioengineering with a heavy dose of physical therapy to spur stem cells that are roaming the body to settle on the injury and turn into the right kind of tissue to repair it.

First, surgeons remove the scar tissue.

Then they implant something called an “extracellular matrix” derived from pigs. It’s the connective scaffolding that remains after cells are removed from a tissue. (Without cells, the immune system doesn’t reject it.) Such material has been used for many years as a kind of mesh in treatments for skin ulcers and in hernia repair.

What’s new here: The matrix temporarily fills in the injury, between edges of remaining muscle. As the scaffolding slowly degrades, it releases chemical signals that attract stem cells to the site, Badylak said.

Then physical therapy puts tension on the spot, in turn signaling the stem cells that they need to form strong, stretchy muscle tissue, he said. Without the exercise, Badylak cautioned, those cells won’t get the message to boost muscle mass, and scar tissue could return.

To start proving that’s what happens, Badylak’s team first removed chunks of leg muscle from mice and administered the treatment. In-depth tests showed which cells moved in, and showed that they created working muscle.

Then it was time for human testing, with three military veterans and two civilians. Each had lost between 60 percent and 90 percent of an affected leg muscle — two from the thigh, the rest from the lower leg — anywhere from about a year to seven years earlier.

The men, in their 20s and 30s, underwent a few months of customized physical therapy to get their muscle function to its maximum capacity.

Then they received the implants, followed by more physical therapy that began within 48 hours after surgery.

Six months later, biopsies and medical scans showed some new muscle grew in all the men. Three patients were officially deemed a success because their legs were stronger by 20 percent or more after the surgery. They had dramatic improvements in tests showing they could hop or squat on the injured leg. Badylak said the two other men had some improvement in balance and quality of life, but not enough to meet the study’s definition of success.

Nick Clark, 34, of Youngwood, Pa., suffered severe muscle loss after he broke his lower leg in a skiing accident. He had a hard time balancing and taking stairs, and sometimes needed a cane. He tried to ride his bike but his left leg was too weak to pedal far.

He received the experimental therapy in 2012. It didn’t restore him to normal, but he now reports biking “quite a distance” and playing pingpong, his left leg finally strong enough to pivot around the table.

“Day to day, that’s had a pretty big impact just to be able to walk that much better,” Clark said. “It’s been a significant difference. I was hoping for more improvement when I first did it, but yeah, I’m definitely still pleased with it.”

Researchers around the country are exploring different ways to spur the regeneration of various body parts, and many focus on injecting stem cells or tissues grown from them. Wednesday’s approach is more novel.

“This strategy obviously has some merit,” said professor George Christ of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, who wasn’t involved with the new study. While larger studies must verify the findings, “the concept of physical therapy coupled with these regenerative strategies is going to be really important.”

The Pittsburgh study is continuing, and Badylak would like to test as many as 50 more patients. He said that the technique probably would work better after a recent injury but that researchers needed to begin with old injuries to prove that physical therapy alone couldn’t explain the muscle regrowth.

————

By Lauran Neergaard, AP medical writer

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

Breaking barriers: For Prieto, it’s all about hard work

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Council to hear about drought pricing

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

Nigeria: Nearly 300 freed women, children led to safety

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Peaceful Baltimore demonstrators praise top prosecutor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Graveyard thefts land three Woodlanders behind bars

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Downtown altercation leads to injuries

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Woman arrested for brandishing knife on overpass

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

Yolo DA launches monthly newsletter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
A Scottish setting for local author’s next book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Can plants talk? UCD prof will answer that question

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Free beginner yoga class offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Video discusses surveillance of prostate cancer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
NAMI support group meets May 10

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Dr. G featured on the radio

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Fee proposed on rail cars that haul oil, other flammables

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Indoor Fun Fly comes to Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
 
Internships move UCD doctoral students beyond academia

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Make Mom a warm vanilla sugar scrub

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
The secret to Mother’s Day gifting success: Give time, not stuff

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Letter book is series of collected missives thanking Mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
If your mom fancies something fancy, consider a tea party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Out of Africa and back to Davis: James Carey will give special presentation

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Big Day of Giving makes philanthropy easy

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Tuleyome hosts Snow Mountain camping trip

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
Tuleyome Tales: How are a snake and a mushroom alike?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Forum

Advancing education for California’s former foster youths

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
With sincere gratitude

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

A wonderful day of service

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Please help Baltimore

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

End of life doesn’t mean life must end

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Eyewitness to the ‘fall’ of Vietnam: It was not a bloodbath

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5 | Gallery

 
Dangers from prescription pills

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

UCD softball splits with Titans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Trifecta of Devil teams open playoffs Tuesday

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Defending champ DHS clinches a baseball playoff berth

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Making memories at Aggie Stadium

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: DHS boys win to reach lacrosse playoffs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggie women speed past Hornets

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
Pro baseball roundup: Hudson pitches Giants past Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Arcadia partners on soybean trait to improve yield

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Marrone opens new greenhouse

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
New firm helps students on path to college

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A8

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, May 3, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8