Science has grown a working leg muscle in a test tube

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Scientists have succeeded in generating functional muscles in mice using a new approach for tissue engineering.

The scientists grew a leg muscle starting from engineered cells cultured in a dish to produce a graft.

The subsequent graft was implanted close to a normal, contracting skeletal muscle where the new muscle was nurtured and grown.

The results of the study are published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Tissue engineering of skeletal muscle is a significant challenge but has considerable potential for the treatment of the various types of irreversible damage to muscle such as muscular dystrophy.

“The morphology and the structural organisation of the artificial organ are extremely similar to if not indistinguishable from a natural skeletal muscle,” says Cesare Gargioli of the University of Rome, one of the lead authors of the study.

The next step in the work will be to use larger animal models to test this approach before starting clinical studies.

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