Working muscles grown from skin stem cells in lab

Muscle kept working after implanted in mice

Researchers turned skin stem cells into working muscle. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In a world first, working muscles were grown from skin stem cells at a laboratory at Duke University in the United States.

According to a report published in the journal Nature Communications, the breakthrough could lead to deeper understanding and treatment of rare and severe muscular diseases.

The co-authors of the study at the Durham, North Carolina, college said they reprogrammed skin cells into their original state, where they were considered as “pluripotent stem cells.”

After flooding them with a substance called Pax7, the researchers further built them into functioning muscle responding to chemical and electrical impulses, reports said. It even worked for three weeks and integrated with the muscle of mice after it was implanted into the animals.

The new technique would allow scientists to remove small amounts of skin or blood from a patient and manufacture endless amounts of muscle to conduct further research and eventually cure rare diseases.