WORCESTER, Mass. A team of scientists from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and CellThera, a private company located in WPI's Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, have regenerated functional muscle tissue in mice, opening the door for a new clinical therapy to treat people who suffer major muscle trauma.
The team used a novel protocol to coax mature human muscle cells into a stem cell-like state and grew those reprogrammed cells on biopolymer microthreads. The threads were placed in a wound created by surgically removing a large section of leg muscle from a mouse. Over time, the threads and cells restored near-normal function to the muscle, as reported in the paper "Restoration of Skeletal Muscle Defects with Adult Human Cells Delivered on Fibrin Microthreads," published in the current issue of the journal Tissue Engineering. Surprisingly, the microthreads, which were used simply as a scaffold to support the reprogrammed human cells, actually seemed to accelerate the regeneration process by recruiting progenitor mouse muscle cells, suggesting that they alone could become a therapeutic tool for treating major muscle trauma.
"We are pleased with the progress of this work, and frankly we were surprised by the level of muscle regeneration that was achieved," said Raymond Page, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at WPI, chief scientific officer at CellThera, and corresponding author on the paper.
The current study is part of a multi-year program funded, in part, by grants from the National Institutes of Health and DARPA, the advanced research program of the U.S Department of Defense, to support the development of new technologies and therapies for people who suffer serious wounds and limb loss.
Mammalian skeletal muscles are able to repair small injuries caused by excessive exertion or minor trauma by recruiting muscle progenitor cells, which have not fully developed into muscle fibers, to the site
|Contact: Michael Cohen|
Worcester Polytechnic Institute