A breakthrough could speed recovery and limit disfigurement for patients who have suffered large soft tissue trauma, as occurs with serious injury or cancer surgery.
By biomedically engineering a muscle flap that includes a patient's own blood vessels, the team created tissue that could be transferred to other parts of the body along with the patient's blood supply. Current techniques – including grafts and synthetic material – for reconstructing such trauma often fail because of lost blood supply. The scientists fabricated the flap using a variety of added cells and connective tissues to strengthen it. They tested it by reconstructing deep abdominal wall tissue defects in mice.
Successful reconstruction of large, soft tissue defects has been a clinical challenge in the past. To improve outcomes, the researchers developed the muscle flap using a patient's own tissues, added important and advantageous cellular components to strengthen it, and engineered it in such a way as to vascularize to include the patient's own blood vessels so that the patient retained their own blood supply during the reconstruction process.
The study provides evidence that tissue-specific cells, such as myoblasts (cells that form muscles), endothelial cells (the thin layer of cells that lines the interior surface of blood vessels), and fibroblasts (the cells providing the structural framework for animal tissues), are necessary to more effectively integrate within the host tissue.
Within one week of being transferred into the test mice, the engineered muscle flaps were "viable, highly vascularized," and demonstrated "firm attachment to the surrounding tissues." The researchers also noted that the muscle flaps had the mechanical strength to support the "abdominal viscera," or organs in the abdominal region.
The researchers say the results will stimulate more research and lead to clinical studies with human patients. They also suggest there are far-reaching uses of the muscle flap as it can be transferred as a 'free flap' to reconstruct defects in other parts of the body. This could circumvent the need to harvest and transfer large amounts of tissue, avoiding many of the current complications.
"We designed and evaluated an engineered muscle flap with robust vascularization. Proper vascularization is essential for successfully integrating the flap within the host,"said Professor Shulamit Levenberg, of the Department of Biomedical at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, who worked in collaboration with Dr. Yulia Shandalov (who was a doctoral student under Levenberg), and Dr. Dana Egozi, from the Rambam Health Care Campus.
Upcoming in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- What Lies Beneath West Antarctica?
- The Genetic History Of Ice Age Europe
- Exodus 2100: Due To Climate Change
- New Interpretation Of The Rök Runestone Inscription Changes View Of Viking Age
- Race And Racism 101 Lecture 1 Intro & Terminology
- Professor Frenkel: Why Shouldn't We Drop Algebra From Our Education System?
- Three Earth-sized Planets Found Orbiting A Tiny Nearby Star
- "Phew! Finally!! Trouble is, you have to have an IQ of well over 100 to understand it. PLUS, you..."
- "Top US scientist Hal Lewis resigned from his post at the University of California after admitting..."
- " Hilarious! ..."
- " Warning! Warning! Warning! elfish is a privileged troll living for an ivory tower! http://plato..."
- "This is a decent article and I think the journalist did a good job of avoiding the usual exaggerations..."
- One third of antibiotic prescriptions unnecessary
- UC San Diego bioengineers create first online search engine for functional genomics data
- UK Health Check has only modest impact on risk factors for cardiovascular disease
- Adult brain prunes branched connections of new neurons
- Five new breast cancer genes and range of mutations pave way for personalized treatment