Muscle wasting linked to old age might one day be treated using stem cells, claim US scientists.
A University of Colorado team transplanted cells into mice and saw the muscle more than double in size - staying that way even into old age.
They say their work, reported in Science Translational Medicine, may have promise in treating muscle-wasting conditions such as muscular dystrophy.
A UK expert said producing a human treatment might be difficult.
Stem cells are cells found in the body which can divide and become a variety of different types of tissue.
Scientists believe they could potentially help treat a large number of problems by helping to re-populate areas of tissue damaged by disease or injury.
A common problem in older people is muscle weakness, linked to a loss of muscle mass in the arms and legs.
This can lead to a swift fall in the quality of life for older people and in some cases increase the need for extra care and support.
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A biodegradable tissue to repair hearts after a heart attacks or to cure congenital malformations. A tissue that acts like a porous, accordion-like medium onto which cardiac stem cells are ‘implanted’ has been created by scientists from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston (MIT). This “bioscaffolding” integrates perfectly with cardiac tissue and creates a biological “band-aid” that is slowly reabsorbed and repairs cardiac muscle.
Compared to similar previous attempts, explained George Engelmayr in “Nature Materials” magazine, the advantage of the “bioscaffolding” is that it faithfully mirrors cardiac tissue structurally and mechanically, and therefore integrates well with it. Cardiac cells all have a certain orientation that allows them to transmit an electrical impulse that makes the heart beat.
The experts, using a laser similar to the kind used to cure short-sightedness, constructed this tissue “scaffolding” and then “implanted” neonatal cardiac cells from mice into it. They then electrically stimulated the tissue just like in the heart, and the cells oriented in the same direction, just as they do in the human body. “We have followed nature’s lessons as closely as possible and have created tissue very similar to the body’s own tissue, and therefore something truly useful for future therapeutic applications.”
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Scientists have claimed they would serve the world’s first test tube hamburger this October.
A team, led by Prof Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, says it has already grown artificial meat in the laboratory, and now aims to create a hamburger, identical to a real stuff, by generating strips of meat from stem cells.
The finished product is expected to cost nearly 220,000 pounds, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Prof Post said his team has successfully replicated the process with cow cells and calf serum, bringing the first artificial burger a step closer.
“In October we are going to provide a proof of concept showing out of stem cells, we can make a product that looks, feels and hopefully tastes like meat,” he was quoted by the British newspaper as saying.
Although it is possible to extract a limited number of stem cells from cows without killing them, the scientists say the most efficient way of taking the process forward would still involve slaughter.
He said: “Eventually my vision is that you have a limited herd of donor animals in the world that you keep in stock and that you get your cells form there.
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Scientists have taken the first steps toward producing the “heart patch,” a design for a medical implement used to repair damage from heart disease, a new study suggests.
Last week, researchers from Duke University presented the results of a study which, using mouse embryonic stem cells, examined the way these cells develop into heart muscle, HealthDay News reports (…)
While looking for mechanisms that might be relevant to restoring regenerative potential in older skeletal muscle, HSCI Executive Committee member, Amy Wagers, PhD, and her team, thought about mechanisms that had been studied for a long time evolutionarily as regulating lifespan and longevity. One example of such a mechanism is reduced calorie intake in the absence of malnutrition, also know as calorie restriction, which has been show to extend lifespan in many organisms.
In order to address the question of whether calorie restriction could also affect skeletal muscle regeneration, Wagers and her colleagues placed mice for 12 weeks on a calorie restricted diet. When the animals were challenged with muscle damage, they responded more vigorously and repaired the damage more rapidly and more effectively than the control mice.
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