Andrew Lemberger 9/24/12
Core Bio Honors, Davies
Fountain, Henry. "BODY BUILDERS; Human Muscle Regenerated With Animal Help." The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 Sept. 2012. Web. 24 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/health/research/human-muscle-regenerated-with-animal-help.html?ref=research>.
For returning vets of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, who were crippled or received severe muscle damage, there is hope. Thanks to a material called extracellular matrix, scientists are able to help people grow muscle back through this thin sheet found on pigs. Extracellular matrix is the natural scaffolding that underlies all tissues and organs, in people as well as in animals. Scientists have recently found that this scaffolding not only holds muscle in place but to their surprise also signals the body to grow and repair those tissues and organs. Due to an explosion and subsequent rounds of surgery sergeant Strang, 28, a marine, with a huge divot in his upper thigh could not move his leg. But now two years later he walks with barely even a limp, can run on a treadmill, and is planning on becoming a police officer. This technique that was performed on Strang though still in development holds promise for treatment of current and future vets. The doctor behind this Astonishing discover is Dr. Peter Rubin, a plastic surgeon at the university of Pittsburgh medical center. Peter being the leader of the study discovered that patients specifically sergeant Strang were showing signs of spurring muscle growth from the animal scaffolding. About a month before Peter had scraped the scar tissue from Strang’s leg and placed the extracellular matrix from a pig bladder onto what good tissue was left. Strang’s body immediately began to break down that scaffolding and began to recruit stem cells to begin to come to the site and form into muscle cells. Now two years later Strang is able to run and do things that he would never have been able to do without this amazing advancement.
For me this article is exactly why science is such a interesting thing in my mind, the fact that everyday new things are discovered or created to help others or further a cause. The reason I chose this article was because not only did it talk about a new creation that betters the lives of people who have been in horrific accidents or have been injured serving our country, but also it also just amazes me what people can do when they focus on one goal and accomplish that goal. Its great to know that in a few years maybe Men and women coming home from a long fought battle with a missing leg muscle or bicep can have it replaced and continue to live an almost normal life.
Overall I thought this article was written fantastically, there was great insight and detail. The author was able to create and emotional connection to the story through a touching and heartfelt story of a man who lost something and then got it back. He provided good background details, getting into the process and studies of Dr. Peter Rubin and how he came to create this animal scaffolding.