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Study: New muscle tissue might be grown from bone marrow


Possible breakthrough in fighting muscular dystrophy

March 5, 1998
Web posted at: 8:08 p.m. EST (0108 GMT)

ATLANTA (CNN) -- A new study shows that it may be possible to use a patient's bone marrow to grow human muscle tissue -- a possible breakthrough in the fight against muscular dystrophy.

Results of the study are reported in the latest issue of the journal Science. Though the study was only preliminary, conducted on mice in Italy, it is being billed as another advance in the move to "trick" the human body into growing its own replacement parts.

"This new concept of cells from the bone marrow having the capacity to generate new muscle is a dramatic breakthrough," said Dr. Leon Charash of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. "The reason is [that] it doesn't depend upon the whims of the immune system."

Other promising treatments for muscular dystrophy, including gene therapy, face the problem of rejection of the new muscle tissue by the patient. But growing the tissue with the patient's own bone marrow tissue could get around that problem.

Muscular dystrophy is an inherited disease in males that causes premature degeneration of muscles, usually leading to death by the late teens or early 20s. Stopping the loss of muscle fibers could impede progress of the disease.

Medical Correspondent Al Hinman contributed to this report


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