Lab engineered muscle implants restore function in animal studies

New research shows that exercise is a key step in building a muscle-like implant in the lab with the potential to repair muscle damage from injury or disease.
“While the body has a capacity to repair small defects in skeletal muscle, the only option for larger defects is to surgically move muscle from one part of the body to another.
“Rather than moving existing muscle, our aim is to help the body grow new muscle,” said George Christ, Ph.D., a professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Building on their prior work, Christ and team placed cells derived from muscle tissue on a strip of biocompatible material. “Exercising” the strip in the lab results in a muscle-like implant that can prompt muscle regeneration and significant functional recovery.
The researchers hope the treatment can one day help patients with muscle defects ranging from cleft lip and palate to those caused by traumatic injuries or surgery.
The goal of the project was to speed up the body’s natural recovery process as well as prompt the development of new muscle tissue.