Regenerative medicine success for muscles

Apr 01, 2011
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.

(PhysOrg.com) -- An innovative strategy for regenerating skeletal muscle tissue using cells from the recipient’s own body is outlined in UCL research published today.

The paper, authored by Dr. Paulo de Coppi (UCL Institute of Child Health and surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital) and colleagues, shows that damaged tissues treated with satellite in a special degradable hydrogel showed satisfactory regeneration and muscle activity. Muscle activity in repaired muscle in a mouse model was comparable with untreated muscles. This is the first time muscle function has been proved by physiological tests.

The research is published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and represents an impressive development in the growing field of regenerative medicine.

Satellite cells (SCs), freshly isolated or transplanted within their niche, are presently considered the best source for muscle regeneration. They are located around existing muscles. Hence, a patient’s own cells can be used, from a muscle biopsy.

A key issue for regeneration is how cells grow as a structure, as they usually require some form of framework. A hard framework would impede muscle growth and muscle cell penetration. The hydrogel, by contrast, provides a supportive structural skeleton but degrades quickly as muscle tissue returns and the support becomes unnecessary. The gel is initially liquid, hardens in place under UV light, and is easily penetrated by muscle cells.

"We focused on a simple, robust, and reproducible technique that could be easily adapted to clinical requirements" said Dr. De Coppi.

"This is using the patients own cells, without any lengthy culturing process, which means we could take a biopsy, produce the cells in a couple of hours, and implant them where needed - it can be done in theatre as one process. Using the patient’s own cells eliminates any tissue rejection."

"Nor are there ethical debates as for embryonic stem cells, or culturing and availability issues, such as amniotic stem cells."

The lab model has the potential to be translated into significant clinical benefit for babies and children born with defective organs, or caused by injury or pathological conditions, that currently require complicated and potentially devastating reconstructive surgery.

Professor Andrew Copp, Director of the UCL Institute of Child Health, said: "This is a very exciting research finding that may significantly advance our ability to repair muscle damage or defects in future. It is a great example of translational research in action, from the laboratory to a near-clinical application."

The focus for initial clinical research in humans will be relatively small muscles at first, like deformities in the face and palate, or in the hand. It will be technically more demanding to grow larger muscles with more structure, which would require their own nerves and blood supply.

“We want to move to safe and effective human trials” said Dr de Coppi, "but of course we are not there yet. Furthermore scaling up from small muscles to larger structures will undoubtedly be challenging."

Explore further: Growing a blood vessel in a week

More information: Research paper in The FASEB Journal

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Team identifies stem cells that repair injured muscles

Mar 05, 2009

A University of Colorado at Boulder research team has identified a type of skeletal muscle stem cell that contributes to the repair of damaged muscles in mice, which could have important implications in the treatment of injured, ...

Stem cell surprise for tissue regeneration (w/ Podcast)

Jun 25, 2009

Scientists working at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Embryology, with colleagues, have overturned previous research that identified critical genes for making muscle stem cells. It turns out that ...

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

23 hours ago

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

Oct 24, 2014

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments : 0