Hot topics in health: Researchers grow leg muscle using cells grown in tissue culture dish
Tissue engineering of skeletal muscle is a task which poses a number of serious challenges, but a team of researchers has managed to go further in this endeavor than ever before by successfully growing the first functional leg muscle from cells in a dish.
The team of researchers from Italy, Israel, and the UK, was able to build the skeletal muscle by starting with mesoangioblasts — muscle precursor cells. These cells were grown in a tissue culture dish and genetically modified to stimulate the growth of blood vessels and nerves. The protein growth factor produced as a result of the genetic modification makes it possible for the new muscle fibers to survive and mature.
The scientifically engineered growth of muscle with the capability of producing blood vessels and nerves is a challenge all on its own. Even after the feat has been accomplished, the next major challenge is getting the new muscle fibers to survive and function within the body. Even in-vitro generated muscles that prove functional outside of the body are not guaranteed to be successful once transferred into the body, as there is the potential problem of the host not producing the growth of nerves and blood vessels necessary to keep the muscle going.
For this team of researchers, however, even this major hurdle has been overcome. Upon implantation of the graft onto the skeletal muscle surface beneath the skin of a mouse, the researchers observed the formation of a complete, functional muscle within several weeks. They found similarly promising results when replacing damaged muscle with the graft.
While the researchers have recognized that there is still work to be done in order to develop a process that is effective for human trials, the findings of this study are immensely promising when it comes to treatment for disease-related muscle damage. More importantly, it sets the stage for patient-specific treatment.
Being able to create a plan of action with your subject or audience in mind is an essential part of PR, but as valuable as it is in PR and other fields, it perhaps holds its greatest value in the field of medicine. Catering a medical approach to each patient on an individualized basis allows for personalized treatment, which offers each patient with a greater opportunity for recovery and health restoration.
How do you think patient-specific treatment is valuable in medicine? How do you think it is important in regards to muscle-damage treatment specifically? Share your thoughts below or tweet me @tamarahoumi