A study published in the journal Cell Research states that Chinese scientists have successfully grown muscle stem cells in a test tube that could cure untreatable injuries caused from accidents and surgeries due to cancer. Scientists claim that this breakthrough can even save the careers of top athletes by healing permanent wounds caused externally.
Hu Ping, a cell biologist with the Shanghai Institute for Biological Science at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that the technology would not only benefit athletes but also help people suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). She said the stem cells grown in the test tube can be transplanted back into the patient’s body which will lead to the formation of new muscles in the affected area. Hu said, it has the potential to cure Liu Xiang’s injury (retired Chinese hurdler whose career ended after a nagging tendon injury in 2008 summer Olympics).
Scientists involved in stem cell research have over the years encountered many problems such as extracting more cells from healthy parts of the body to treat grave injuries. Extracting more cells means risking patient’s life. Additionally researchers have even attempted to harvest stem cells independent of a human body so that large numbers could be grown without risking patient’s health. All such efforts went in vain. However, scientists involved in the current experiment managed to harvest 10 trillion muscle stem cells from a pool of just 10,000 original stem cells taken from the host. The harvested stem cells are as effective as original cells in terms of regenerating muscle, they claimed. It took two years for the scientist to achieve this feat. After testing these cells on mice it was found that the test tube generated cells were nearly identical to natural cells. Researchers would now undertake extensive clinical trials to figure out the side effects on humans before it is brought to practical use.