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SILK PURSES FROM SOW'S BLADDERS

Scaffold spurs stem cells to produce muscle cells

By Anette Breindl
Science Editor

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
In what is surely the best use of pig bladders since the invention of the football, researchers have used a scaffold derived from pig bladder extracellular matrix to mobilize muscle stem cells and regrow large amounts of muscles that had been lost in wounds. The findings open up new therapeutic possibilities for patients who have lost such large amounts of muscle that the body's natural repair capacities cannot replace them, a condition known as volumetric muscle loss. Smaller muscle wounds can be repaired by the body with relative ease. But, senior author Stephen Badylak told reporters at a press conference, "when you lose so much muscle that the gap is too large for the normal restorative process to occur, the end result is typically filling that gap with scar tissue."

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