Researchers from the University of Arkansas have developed a biomaterial that can regenerate damaged skeletal muscle. Living cells secrete fibrous proteins and polysaccharide gels called extracellular matrix. In severe injuries, however, the extracellular matrix does not function properly and cannot initiate the healing process. The researchers grow cells inside a porous foam. These cells secrete extracellular matrix into the pores of the foam. The foam can then be dissolved in a solvent so only the extracellular matrix remains. The engineered muscle-mimic could be injected into the injured tissue directly or combined with stem cells harvested from the patient. Potentially, the stem cells and the extracellular matrix in the biomaterial would communicate with native cells and stimulate the regeneration of healthy muscle.
Source: University of Arkansas